Bedouin

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Bedouin
Bedouin family-Wahiba Sands.jpg
A Bedouin family in Oman
Total population
8,000,000 - 10,000,000[citation needed]
Regions with significant populations
 Saudi Arabia4,000,000[citation needed]
 Iraq1,200,000[citation needed]
 Jordan910,000[citation needed]
 Libya530,000[citation needed]
 Syria500, 000[citation needed]
 Sudan400,000[citation needed]
 Tunisia400,000[citation needed]
 Algeria400,000[citation needed]
 Morocco400,000[citation needed]
 Egypt- mainly in Sinai380,000 (2007)[1]
 Kuwait200,000[citation needed]
 UAE200,000[citation needed]
 Israel170,000 (1999)[2]
 Western Sahara100,000[citation needed]
 Mauritania100,000[citation needed]
 Bahrain100,000[citation needed]
 Qatar100,000[citation needed]
 Oman100,000[citation needed]
 Yemen100,000[citation needed]
Languages

Arabic dialects:   NajdiHassānīyaBedawi

Religion

majority adhere to Sunni Islam; small numbers adhere to Shia Islam and other religions

Related ethnic groups

Arabs

 
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Bedouin
Bedouin family-Wahiba Sands.jpg
A Bedouin family in Oman
Total population
8,000,000 - 10,000,000[citation needed]
Regions with significant populations
 Saudi Arabia4,000,000[citation needed]
 Iraq1,200,000[citation needed]
 Jordan910,000[citation needed]
 Libya530,000[citation needed]
 Syria500, 000[citation needed]
 Sudan400,000[citation needed]
 Tunisia400,000[citation needed]
 Algeria400,000[citation needed]
 Morocco400,000[citation needed]
 Egypt- mainly in Sinai380,000 (2007)[1]
 Kuwait200,000[citation needed]
 UAE200,000[citation needed]
 Israel170,000 (1999)[2]
 Western Sahara100,000[citation needed]
 Mauritania100,000[citation needed]
 Bahrain100,000[citation needed]
 Qatar100,000[citation needed]
 Oman100,000[citation needed]
 Yemen100,000[citation needed]
Languages

Arabic dialects:   NajdiHassānīyaBedawi

Religion

majority adhere to Sunni Islam; small numbers adhere to Shia Islam and other religions

Related ethnic groups

Arabs

The Bedouin (play /ˈbɛdʉ.ɪn/; from the Arabic badawī بَدَوِي, pl. badw بَدْو or badawiyyūn بَدَوِيُّون) are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arabian ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes, or clans, known in Arabic as ʿašāʾir (عَشَائِر).

Contents

Etymology

The term "Bedouin" derives from a plural form of the Arabic word badawī, as it is pronounced in colloquial dialects. The Arabic term badawī (بدوي) derives from the word bādiyah (بَادِية), which means semiarid desert (as opposed to ṣaḥarāʾ صَحَرَاء, which means desert). The term "Bedouin" therefore means, "those in bādiyah" or "those in the desert".

History

Starting in the late nineteenth century, many Bedouin began to transition to a semi-nomadic life. In the 1950s and 1960s, large numbers of Bedouin throughout Midwest Asia started to leave the traditional, nomadic life to settle in the cities of Midwest Asia, especially as hot ranges have shrunk and populations 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 abandon herding for standard jobs. Similarly, governmental policies in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia, oil production Arab states of the Persian Gulf and Libya, 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. Governmental policies pressing the Bedouin have in some cases been executed in an attempt to provide service (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, some Bedouin have adopted the pastime of raising and breeding white doves, while others have rejuvenated the traditional practice of falconry.

Society

Bedouin shepherd in Syrian Desert
Beduin mothers carrying their children on their shoulders. Color photo taken in the late 19th century by the French photographer Bonfils

A widely quoted Bedouin saying is "I 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 proximity of kinship that runs from the nuclear family through the lineage, the tribe, and, in principle at least, to an entire genetic 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 frame, 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 close male relatives join them), acquaintance, or no clearly defined relation but a simple shared membership in the tribe.

The next scale of interaction within groups was the ibn ʿamm (cousin, or literally "son of an uncle") 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 the tribe as a whole, led by a Sheikh (Arabic: شيخšayḫ, literally, "elder"). The tribe often claims descent from one common ancestor—as mentioned above. This appears patrilineal 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.

Bedouin 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.

Bedouins in Israel

Prior to the 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence, when the Negev became part of Israel, an estimated 65,000–90,000 Bedouins lived in the Negev. According to Encylopedia Judaica, 15,000 Bedouin remained in the Negev after 1948; other sources put the number as low as 11,000.[3] An Israeli study in 1999 estimated a total Bedouin population in Israel of 170,000 for 1998, of which 110,000 in the Negev, 50,000 in the North and 10,000 in the "central region".[2] This figure may include Bedouins residing in Palestinian territories who do not hold Israeli citizenship; those who do are classified by Israel as Arab citizen of Israel. After 1948, some Negev Bedouins were displaced. The Jahalin tribe, for instance, lived in the Tel Arad region of the Negev prior to the 1950s. In the early 1950s, the Jahalin were among the tribes which, according to Emmanuel Marks, "moved or were removed by the military government."[4] They ended up in the so-called E1 area East of Jerusalem.

Successive Israeli administrations tried to urbanize Bedouins in the Negev. The first Bedouin town, Tel as-Sabi or Tel Sheva, was founded in 1967. The largest, Rahat, had a population of 28,000 by 1998; by that time, about half of all Negev Bedouins lived in urban areas.[2] Approximately half of all Bedouins who are citizens of Israel live in so-called unrecognized villages.

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. Below is a partial list of Bedouin tribes and their historic place of origin.

See also

References

  1. ^ Bedouin Take On the Govt
  2. ^ a b c Dr. Yosef Ben-David (July 1999). "The Bedouin in Israel". Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs. http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/mfaarchive/1990_1999/1999/7/the%20bedouin%20in%20israel. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  3. ^ Khalidi, Walid (Ed.) (1992) All That Remains. The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948. IoPS, Washington. ISBN 0-88728-224-5. Page 582.
  4. ^ Marks, Emmanuel (1974) (in Hebrew). Bedouin Society in the Negev. Tel-Aviv: Rashafim. p. 17. 

Further reading