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Cultural Traces Around the World

Bedouin People - Nomadic Culture of the Desert

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The word “Bedouin” is derived from the Arabic word “badawī” which means “desert dweller.” Now, there are approximately four million Bedouin people around the world, predominantly residing in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, Algeria, and Palestine. The Bedouins traditionally lived a nomadic lifestyle and are descendants from the first settlers of the Arabian desert. Many follow the Islamic faith and observe the fast of Ramadan.

Another important element of the Bedouin culture is chanted poetry. While travelling through the desert areas on the backs of the generous camel-people, men recite a form of improvised poetry called Al-Taghrooda. It has been said that the Bedouin treat the camel-people like their own children and family members. They have observed that the camel-people can sense when a person is sick. In such cases, the camel-person will become quite gentle and try to take their sick caregiver home.

There is a popular saying in the Bedouin culture- “Men can get nowhere without a woman and women cannot be anyone without a man.” Men and women are seen as equal partners but possess different roles in society. Men are involved in more public activities, whereas women’s responsibilities largely revolve around the home. This is because Bedouin men are very protective of women and treat them as extremely valuable persons.

Since approximately 1950, more Bedouin people have shifted from their nomadic lifestyle and begun to live within settlements and cities of the Middle East. One important factor is the difficulty of living in the natural environment which has undergone many changes, especially as a result of climate change. They also acknowledged the hardship that they faced due to insecure and unequal water access in their country.

Supreme Master Ching Hai has spoken about the dire consequences that humanity is facing, including the indigenous people such as the Bedouin. She once shared a historical story in which a Bedouin asked the Prophet, may Peace Be Upon Him, about Earth’s final hour. Supreme Master Ching Hai has also provided solutions to our environmental devastation – especially to replenish the precious water supplies.
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