Muqattam, Cairo, Egypt: and a tale of the Christian tattoo artist

I was in Egypt, I was in Cairo, I was in Muqattam when I met him.  The tattoo artist. 

He wasn't like other tattoo artists.  Oh no.  You see, he didn't do dragons, or hearts, or fairies.  There were no Chinese symbols or fluttering butterflies, or barbed wire in his repertoire. 

His name was Gerges.  And he was on a Mission. For God.

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Lined up in his stall were tidy rows of crosses of all sizes, stamps of the Coptic pope, of Saint George.  Oh you get the idea.
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He had an unremitting commitment to his faith, which he expressed in.... well, the most indelible of ways.

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The pigments brilliant........

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Amir was 22.  He came into Gerges' booth located in front of the church.  I want a tattoo please.  A big tattoo, he said.  I want it right here, he said, tapping on his chest. 

Yes, of course, Gerges answered. And so he started.

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 How much for a tattoo, Gerges? I asked.  10 Egyptian pounds, he said.  (About $2. ) For a small one?  I asked.  Small or big, it doesn't matter, he answered .  And if you don't have money, I'll do it for free, he added.

He looked at me then.  Straight in the eyes.  Maryam, would you like one, a tattoo? he said.

Maybe next time, I answered. Thanks Gerges.