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The Bedouin (from the Arabic badawī (بدوي), pl. badū) are a part of the predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group, where Arab Ethnicity is divided into three lifestyles, of the Urban, rural and Nomad people.
Traditional Bedouin cultures
A widely quoted Bedouin saying is "Me against my brother, My brothers and I against my cousins, then my cousins and I against strangers". This saying signifies a hierarchy of loyalties based on closeness of kinship that runs from the nuclear family through the lineage, the tribe, and even, in principle at least, to an entire ethnic or linguistic group (which is perceived to have a kinship basis). Disputes are settled, interests are pursued, and justice and order are maintained by means of this organizational framework, according to an ethic of self-help and collective responsibility (Andersen 14). The individual family unit (known as a tent or bayt) typically consisted of three or four adults (a married couple plus siblings or parents) and any number of children.
When resources were plentiful, several tents would travel together as a goum. These groups were sometimes linked by patriarchal lineage, but were just as likely linked by marriage (new wives were especially likely to have male relatives join them), acquaintance or even no clearly defined relation but a simple shared membership in the tribe.
The next scale of interactions inside tribal groups was the ibn 'amm (cousin) or descent group, commonly of three to five generations. These were often linked to goums, but where a goum would generally consist of people all with the same herd type, descent groups were frequently split up over several economic activities, thus allowing a degree of 'risk management'; should one group of members of a descent group suffer economically, the other members of the descent group would be able to support them. Whilst the phrase "descent group" suggests purely a lineage-based arrangement, in reality these groups were fluid and adapted their genealogies to take in new members.
The largest scale of tribal interactions is of course the tribe as a whole, led by a Sheikh (Arabic: شيخ, literally, "elder"). The tribe often claims descent from one common ancestor—as mentioned above. This appears patrimonial but in reality new groups could have genealogies invented to tie them in to this ancestor. The tribal level is the level that mediated between the Bedouin and the outside governments and organizations.
Bedouins traditionally had strong honor codes, and traditional systems of justice dispensation in Bedouin society typically revolved around such codes. The bisha'a, or ordeal by fire, is a well-known Bedouin practice of lie detection. See also: Honor codes of the Bedouin, Bedouin systems of justice
Changing ways of life
Starting in the late 19th century, many Bedouins under British rule began to transition to a semi-nomadic lifestyle. In the 1950s and 1960s, large numbers of Bedouin throughout the Middle East started to leave the traditional, nomadic life to settle in the cities of the Middle East, especially as hot ranges have shrunk and population levels have grown. For example, in Syria the Bedouin way of life effectively ended during a severe drought from 1958 to 1961, which forced many Bedouin to give up herding for standard jobs. Similarly, government policies in Egypt and Israel, oil production in the Persian Gulf, as well as a desire for improved standards of living, effectively led most Bedouin to become settled citizens of various nations, rather than stateless nomadic herders.
Government policies pressuring the Bedouin have in some cases been executed in an attempt to provide services (schools, health care, law enforcement and so on—see Chatty 1986 for examples), but in others have been based on the desire to seize land traditionally roved and controlled by the Bedouin.
In recent years, the Bedouin have adopted the pastime of raising and breeding white doves.
Partial list of Bedouin tribes and populations
There are a number of Bedouin tribes, but the total population is often difficult to determine, especially as many Bedouin have ceased to lead nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyles (see above) and joined the general population. Below is a partial list of Bedouin tribes and their historic place of origin (the list does not include tribes of the Negev Bedouins in Israel.
- Al-Tarabeen One of the largest tribes in Jordan and Israel. They include many families like Al-Sanea'.
- Beni Sakhr One of the largest tribes in Jordan.
- Al Adwan One of the largest tribes in Jordan.
- Al-Abbadi One of the largest tribes in Jordan.
- Beni-Hasan One of the largest tribes in Jordan.
- Al-Howaitat a tribe in Southern Jordan (Wadi Araba and Wadi Rum)
- al-Ajman from eastern Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf States
- alatwy a tribe (also known as Beni Ateyah), live in north-western part of Saudi Arabia, Tabuk province.
- Al Buainain
- Al Bu Romaih
- Al-Matheel also spelled Mathil, a prominent Yemeni tribe based in the Damt region of Yemen, most have spread to the capital Sana'a
- al-Awazem, mostly located in Kuwait, with a small section in north-eastern Saudi Arabia.
- Al-Baggara, in Syria,Sudan and Iraq.
- Aniza, some Anizes are of Bedouin tribes that lives in northern Saudi Arabia, western Iraq, the Persian Gulf States, and the Syrian steppe.
- Bani Hajer (Al-Hajri or Al-Hajeri)a large and powerful tribe in Saudi Arabia and the eastern Persian Gulf States.
- Bani Rasheed Rashaida in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Jordan, Persian Gulf States and North Africa.
- Bani Khalid, a large tribe spanning Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and other countries, said to be descendants of Prophet Mohamed's companion "Khaled ibn Al-Waleed".
- Shahran Al-Ariydhah, very large tribe from Bisha city to Khamis Mushait and Abha cties Al-Arydhah - it means wide - is a famous name for Shahran because it has a very large area , Saudi Arabia.
- Bani Truf in Ahwaz which is located in southwest of Iran near Iraqi border.
- Banu Yam centered in Najran Province, Saudi Arabia.
- Beni Sakhr in Syria and Jordan.
- al-Da'ajah Bedouin of Balqawi Amman in Jordan
- al-Duwasir, south of Riyadh, and Kuwait
- Ghamid, large tribe from Al-Bahah Province, Saudi Arabia, mostly settled, but with a small Bedouin section known as Badiyat Ghamid.
- Harb, a large tribe, centered around Medina, but also extending northwards towards Tabuk and eastwards towards Al-Qassim.
- Hareeb 100 Miles South of Marib in Yemen
- Hajaya in al-Qatarneh, and al-Hasa, Jordan
- Al Jalahma
- Juhayna (tribe), a large tribe, many of its warriors were recruited as mercenaries during World War I by Prince Faisal, surrounds the area of Mecca, and extends to Southern Medina
- Khawalid in Jordan, Israel, and Syria.
- Tuba-Zangariyye, Israel near Syria
- al-Mawasi, a group living on the central Gaza Strip coast.
- Dulaim, a large tribe in Al Anbar western Iraq.
- al-Massaed tribe found in Jordan.
- al-Murrah in Saudi Arabia
- Murad, a tribe living 150 miles south-east of the capital of Yemen.
- Mutair, estimated at about 1,200,000 members; live in the Nejd plateau, many families from the Mutair tribe live in the Persian Gulf States, especially Kuwait.
- Muzziena in Dahab and South Sinai (Egypt).
- Al Nuaim a large tribe in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan (Noaymat), Palestine, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain.
- al-Rashaydah, a large international tribe, originally centered around Medina, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait but also extending in Jordan, Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan, Libya and Mali, see also Bani Rasheed
- Rwala, a large clan from the Aniza tribe, live in Saudi Arabia, but extend through Jordan into Syria and Iraq, in the 1970s, according to Lancaster, there were 250,000–500,000 Rwala
- Al-Majali South Jordan Majalis have long dominated Karak Bedouin society
- Al-Hadid Large Bedouin tribe found in Iraq, Syria and Jordan. Now mostly are settled in cities such as Haditha in Iraq, Homs & Hama in Syria, and Amman Jordan. Yet tribal law still exists within their families as their Sheikh still governs the tribe. Sheikh Barjas Al-Hadid now leads the tribe in Jordan and previously Sheikh Raslan Al-Hadid in Syria.
- Shammar in Saudi Arabia, central, and western Iraq, eastern Syria.
- Subay', central Nejd, and Kuwait
- Swellat,A Large Bedouin tribe, found in Lebanon and Syria.
- Ubeidah, 150 miles west of the capital of Yemen
- Ummur tribe of around 1,200 persons near Palmyra, Syria.
- Utaybah large tribe in western and central Saudi Arabia.
- Yahia, a group from Morocco of about 96,000 people.
- Zaab, a small tribe, live with the Al-Ajman, in eastern Saudi Arabia.
- Makki tribes from banu Abdul Qays they live in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman.
- Riyalat, A strong, large family that originates from the vast Saudi family called "E'enize" it now resides in a city Called Sult in Jordan.
|This article includes a list of references or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations where appropriate. (December 2008)|
- Alush, Zvi. "New town for rich US immigrants: New southern town aims to attract affluent American immigrants" YNet 05.02.06
- Andersen, Roy R., Robert F. Seibert, Jon G. Wagner.Politics and Change in the Middle East: Sources of Conflict and Accommodation. Eighth edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. 2007.
- Brous, Devorah. "The 'Uprooting:' Education Void of Indigenous 'Location-Specific' Knowledge, Among Negev Bedouin Arabs in Southern Israel;" International Perspectives on Indigenous Education. (Ben Gurion University 2004)
- Chatty, D Mobile Pastoralists 1996. Broad introduction to the topic, specific focus on women's issues.
- Chatty, Dawn. From Camel to Truck. The Bedouin in the Modern World. New York: Vantage Press. 1986
- Cole, Donald P. "Where have the Bedouin gone?". Anthropological Quarterly. Washington: Spring 2003.Vol.76, Iss. 2; pg. 235
- Falah, Ghazi. “Israeli State Policy Towards Bedouin Sedentarization in the Negev,” Journal of Palestine Studies, 1989 Vol. XVIII, No. 2, pp. 71–91
- Falah, Ghazi. “The Spatial Pattern of Bedouin Sedentarization in Israel,” GeoJournal, 1985 Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 361–368.
- Gardner, Andrew. The Political Ecology of Bedouin Nomadism in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In Political Ecology Across Spaces, Scales and Social Groups, Lisa Gezon and Susan Paulson, eds. Rutgers: Rutgers University Press.
- Gardner, Andrew. The New Calculus of Bedouin Pastoral Nomadism in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Human Organization 62 (3): 267-276.
- Gardner, Andrew and Timothy Finan. Navigating Modernization: Bedouin Pastoralism and Climate Information in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies 4 (Spring): 59-72.
- Gardner, Ann. "At Home in South Sinai." Nomadic Peoples 2000.Vol.4,Iss. 2; pp. 48–67. Detailed account of Bedouin women.
- Jarvis, Claude Scudamore. Yesterday and To-day in Sinai. Edinburgh/London: W. Blackwood & Sons; Three Deserts. London: John Murray, 1936; Desert and Delta. London: John Murray, 1938. Sympathetic accounts by a colonial administrator in Sinai.
- Lancaster, William. The Rwala Bedouin Today 1981 (Second Edition 1997). Detailed examination of social structures.
- S. Leder/B. Streck (ed.): Shifts and Drifts in Nomad-Sedentary Relations. Nomaden und Sesshafte 2 (Wiesbaden 2005)
- Lithwick, Harvey. "An Urban Development Strategy for the Negev’s Bedouin Community;" Center for Bedouin Studies and Development and Negev Center for Regional Development, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, August 2000
- Manski, Rebecca. "The scene of many crimes: suffacoating self-subsistence in the negev;" News From Within, Vol. XXIV, No. 13, April 2006
- Manski, Rebecca. "Bedouin Vilified Among Top 10 Environmental Hazards in Israel;" News From Within, Vol. XXII, No. 11, December 2006
- Manski, Rebecca. "A Desert Mirage: The Rising Role of US Money in Negev Development" News From Within Vol. XXII No.8 October/November 2006
- Mohsen, Safia K. The quest for order among Awlad Ali of the Western Desert of Egypt.
- Thesiger, Wilfred (1959). Arabian Sands. ISBN 0-14-009514-4 (Penguin paperback). British adventurer lives as and with the Bedu of the Empty Quarter for 5 years
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