of the women, who I assumed was his mother, slapped his
shrunken legs until he dragged himself to a corner of the tent
where he lay whimpering.
was brokenhearted at this child’s plight.
Unlike people of other cultures, Arabs, and in
particular, Bedouin Arabs, are uncaring about their
While healthy children are considered wealth and
prestige for a family, an unhealthy child is a dreaded shame.
It was doubtful that this child would ever receive
The little boy would likely live out his miserably
short life crippled, unloved and undernourished.
desperately wanted to scoop the little boy up and take him
away with me, but such a reaction is unheard of in my country.
In such a case as neglect, children are never taken
away from their families, no matter the circumstances.
one of the women roughly nudged my arm, I accepted the tea cup
It was crusted with the filth of much previous use.
A second woman with the scarred hands of a woman who
had raised many tents poured hot tea into my cup.
was nothing to do but to drink from this cup; otherwise, our
hostess would be gravely offended.
she was satisfied that her guests had been served, Faten
removed her veil.
She was proud to show us that she was, indeed, very
pretty, and very young, no more than eighteen or nineteen
years of age, close to Maha’s age.
other Bedouin women removed their veils, too.
These women looked much older and worn out than Faten.
It was no wonder that she was the favorite wife, for
she had not yet been ravaged by repeated childbirth and the
harsh desert life.
pranced before us as she showed off the various trinkets that
she said were special gifts from the Sheik.
“He no longer visits his other wives,” she said
with a broad grin as she pointed out three other Bedouin women
three women exchanged subtle looks of irritation, while my
sisters and I sat in silent unease.
one of the older women insisted that my sisters and I also
remove our veils, we did so.
gawked in surprise at Sara’s beauty.
Obviously, she was accustomed to being the village
celebrity, but no woman could match Sara’s breathtaking
If my dear sister lived in a country where women were
not forced to cover their faces, she would be famous for her