Youssef Ali Soueid, a face of golden Tripoli


Youssef Ali Soueid, a common face in all major and small cinemas in town back in the gold years, and a veteran ticket seller having hopped between them all in his youth. He remembers clearly how each of Nadia Jundi, Abdel Halim Hafez and Farouq Al Fishawi had visited his family's house, now an underprivileged two-room house in Tripoli slums, having individual photos with each of them on one wall, some even featuring his own kids and relatives held by the famous figures.

© Natheer Halawani

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© Natheer Halawani
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Youssef does not hide, but as a matter of fact takes pride, that he used to run a dairy shop in town, selling all sorts of products like fresh milk, cheese, labneh and yogurt. Youssef's eyes sparkled when he remembered those days, his face even glowed when he was telling us how he took his newly-wed bride away from the ceremony on his bicycle. He remembers clearly how the whole neighborhood fed on Frerij (roasted chicken) that night.

© Natheer Halawani

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© Rimal Abeed

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Youssef now has to climb up a pair of damp and extremely dim staircases to reach his lair and he's not complaining. The same lair is home for his older brother too, a somebody with Alzheimer's disease. Whenever asked, Youssef, the much younger and more active brother, can't but shrug and puff in reaction to his suffering with living with his brother, being his forever caretaker in their late years.

© Natheer Halawani

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© Rimal Abeed

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We met Youssef after he had requested us to visit and take photos, which gave me an insight of how lonely and depressed he might be feeling most of the times. Add to it the fact that he spends most of his time watching old movies. He detests the DVD player he bought a while ago, claiming the "stuff" shown on TV are much more genuine.

© Natheer Halawani

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© Natheer Halawani

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© Natheer Halawani

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© Natheer Halawani

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