following days were most pleasant for the whole family.
Our men mounted their camels and hunted desert wildlife
while our children played endless games with their cousins.
The women enjoyed long walks around the camp, admiring
the scenic vistas and sharing many happy memories of our
days into our trip, our husbands suggested that we visit the
camp of the Bedouin tribe whose men had so startled us on our
We women were eager to go, for every city Arab remains
forever curious about the Bedouin.
the women except Dunia, that is.
flatly refused the invitation, claiming that her frail
temperament simply could not survive such a shock as visiting
a dirty Bedouin camp, so she stayed behind with our female
servants and the children.
unfamiliar with Arabia believe all Arabs are Bedouin;
actually, city Arabs and desert Bedouin Arabs have rarely
co-existed peacefully, and even today, a pervasive and
continuing conflict exists between them.
City Arabs mock the Bedouin as simple-minded fools
while Bedouins revile city Arabs as amoral sinners.
In the not too distant past, the “wild Bedu” would
stuff their nostrils with cloth when it was necessary for them
to come into the city, to avoid being polluted by the odor of
Bedouins do always extend warm reception to visitors to their
camps, even though this hospitality is often short-lived.
had been in several Bedouin camps during my youth, and now I
was interested to discover if the years in between had brought
any improvement to their grim lives.
I recalled that the Bedouin I had seen had been packed
into tents filled with their own garbage.
life of the Bedouin begins with a high risk of infant
Those children who survive infancy run barefoot,
unschooled and unwashed through the camps.
And, the women!
I could scarcely think of them without an involuntary
Certainly, in every class of Saudi Arabia life, women
are looked down upon as naturally and irrevocably inferior to
men, but life for Bedouin women is worse by any measure, for
they do not have the
necessary wealth to relieve their harsh lives.
Bedouin women are terribly burdened by hard physical
Besides waiting on their husbands, and taking care of
many children, their nomadic responsibilities even include the
setting up and dismantling of camp!