Old Profession at Times of War - MPC Journal - HOS
Mohammad Qurabi, a photographer at Humans of Syria, had the chance to talk to a Syrian blacksmith in Ariha, a twon in the north of Syria. Here is his story.
Old Profession at Times of War - MPC Journal - HOS

Adel Haddad, who goes by the nickname Abu Hassan, is someone in the city who is still working in a very old profession that dates back more than 150 years: Arabic blacksmithing.

He inherited this craft from his ancestors and continues the tradition in their name in Ariha.

Abu Hassan works more than ten hours a day. You always see him engrossed in his work and indefatigable, earning the livelihood of his family.

He was just twelve years old when his father died, so he left school to learn this profession from his older brother.

Abu Hassan likes this profession because he appreciates the old crafts. The pieces remind him of his father and grandfather. Now, he is transferring the knowledge to his son, like his older brother did for him, and their father before him. He sees this profession as part of the family heritage and believes it must continue.

Old Profession at Times of War - MPC Journal - HOS

Abu Hassan said to me:

“People’s careers are tales, which tell the story of a rich history and the legacy of precious heritage transferred across generations.

There are still Syrian families who carry on these handicrafts and gain their living from them.

The blacksmith market in the city dates back to the Ayoubi dynasty, nearly 650 years ago. It is adjacent to a number of ancient markets including the traders and spice sellers.

Inside the kiln is a small compartment with an electric fan, which blows upon the hot coals. After 15 minutes, the coals heat up to 500° C, a degree of heat needed to form desired pieces.

Coal is a black rock of which a large part is combustible, composed of carbon and other elements, including oxygen and nitrogen.

Being a blacksmith is one of the hardest and oldest professions in Ariha city, upon which many other industries rely, including farming, industry and tools.”

Photos by: Mohammad Qurabi

Photos by: Mohammad Qurabi/Humans of Syria

By Hakim Charles

Hakim Charles studied political science of the Middle East, European Studies, journalism and linguistics. He has been lecturing at different German universities since 2011 on issues related to ideology and the interplay of power thereof in socio-political life, and religion and its relationship to contemporary politics in the regions of West Asia and North Africa, especially Egypt and Syria. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Mashreq Politics & Culture Journal (MPC Journal) since 2014 and has published over 100 articles in different languages, academic and otherwise, in a wide spectrum of on-line and printed newspapers, journals and think tanks. His current research focuses on Islam-inspired political ideologies such as Islamist extremism and Salafism, radicalisation, de-radicalisation processes in Germany as well as peace and conflict in the Middle East.

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