"There is no opportunity for the young who live here," said Afifi. "We have ports and an industrial area known worldwide. We have factories. The hiring is politically connected to Mubarak's party. They send somebody to manage, and he brings in his friends and the people from his province. We try to pick up work as painters and laborers."
"Those jobs don't last," said Antar. "When the price of cement goes up, the building stops and we have nothing."
They shook their heads and listened for gunfire.
On the other side of town, Abdel Ibrahim held his ax. Hands stained with rust, he has been a welder since he was 8. He earns about $100 a month, if the price of steel doesn't rise. Boys stood in the alley with him; mothers dropped baskets on ropes out windows to haul up vegetables from a man with a donkey cart.