Friday, February 19, 2010

SDE BOKER—Visiting a real Bedouin home is a mind-altering experience, in the sense that it utterly eviscerates the romanticized, tourist vision of nomads living off the land in dignity and serenity. The reality is that these are very oppressed people who live in poverty, at the sufferance of the state, which demands proper permits for them to roam or even grow their own food. The contrast between the Jewish-owned agricultural areas and these miserable “unrecognized” villages is quite stark. No pictures here, out of my own perhaps misguided sense of respect. One could make the comparison with the condition of the American Indians, although Bedouins make up a higher percentage of the population (about two percent) than our indigenous peoples. So there are of course differences.

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