Romanticising the bedouin

10 Apr, '07

Bedouin moron

Try as they might, they will not be bedouins. Bloody hell, put them in a tent with no modcons, a belly dancer to set the mood, a couple of buffed up masseuses and you’ll watch them suffocate.

Forget that, put them in a pseudo-bedouin situation without their designer wind-breakers, thobes and set of the ugal and they’ll have foot-stomping-ear-piercing-fist-thumping-teeth-clenching tantrums!

I agree with him. We Bahrainis are not, and never have been, bedouins. More important is the fact that they have ceased to be bedouins over 250 years ago… but maybe, just maybe, evolution takes a little longer to register with them!

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  1. Damn, you guys are really angry. I missed the infamous TV parade, so I’m not as pissed off.

    It’s very difficult to image Bedouins in an island. Still, some things take a longer time to vanish than others. People cease to inhabit the desert, but they don’t cease having their hair long.

    In anycase I agree with the gist of the post, I don’t see why we should be broadcast as something that we aren’t. This can start a whole national TV debate, though.

    **Brainstorming**

  2. Butterfly says:

    I met many bedouins, mainly from Saudi Arabia, and I can assure you these people have many good personal qualities.

    I wish if those Bahrainis who imitate them learn these qualities instead of trying to look like them.

    Bedouin in Bahrain is associated with some members of the Royal family, this is the only reason why some imature people pretend to be bedouin.

  3. NewMe says:

    I can see,,, BCMS is making a come back… Horrrrrrrrrrrrrrrray!!!

    Growing up,,, I suffered from controlled freaks Bedouin Cracked-Mentality Syndrome BCMS (mum’s side) :sick:

    To them this is more like a hobby than anything else…
    while some ppl collect stamps, those enjoy bringing back the dead by reliving stone age… :biggrin:

    very sad but unfortunately still exist!!! :cwy:

    Best wishes,,,
    Cheers!!!

  4. Bahraini and proud says:

    I met many bedouins, mainly from Saudi Arabia, and I can assure you these people have many good personal qualities.

    i don’t think so i met bedouins and i don’t really feel comfortable around them(but i guess it is a personal thing).

    I wish if those Bahrainis who imitate them learn these qualities instead of trying to look like them.

    hehehehe what qualities ???? they might have some qualities that i never seem to understand or pay attention to.

    Bedouin in Bahrain only imature people pretend to be bedouin.

    because they have no life i guess??? :wassat:

  5. It is funny that you and Emoodz mention Bahrainis not being bedouins. I had the conversation many times before explaining how Bahrainis are not bedouin and never were. Let me say that again: natives of Bahrain were never bedouin; however, some tribes/families with bedouin origions migrated to Bahrain. They are few and by no means constitute a majority or even a sizeable minority.

    What gets to me is the pathetic attempt to rewrite history in order to look cool. :dizzy: :shocked: And of course let us not forget that the wannabes do not imulate the fine points rather what they presume to be the exterior and yes, the ugly points.

    I know a poor kid is in this phase ( he is 20). He grows his hair, changes his dialect and forces his mother to wear abaya if she is to be seen out with him. He has become a racist, sectarianist and a sexist to the max. He pretends not to know any of his female cousins while at the same time trying to control their lives. These are the values the so-called Bahraini bedouins espouse. What they seem to miss is that we Bahrainis come from great stock too! And that is something we should never hide or pretend otherwise.

    Bedouins? Yeah right touting their Dunhill qitras bd 80 shoes and landcuisers when they wouldn’t recognize a hard day of work if you slapped them in teh face with it. But hey, as long as mum and dad are paying……As the saying goes in New York they say keep it real, in Bahrain, let’s keep it fake!

  6. Barry says:

    I’ve never understood the desire of people to take up and pretend to be an entire culture just to look “cool”, as if their own culture wasn’t good enough. I guess when you live in your own culture from day to day, you take a lot of it for granted.

  7. Seems a bit like Ali G.

    (“Is it ‘cos I’m black? – while playing a white character…)

  8. Butterfly says:

    Bahraini and proud

    don’t think so i met bedouins and i don’t really feel comfortable around them(but i guess it is a personal thing).

    As you said this is your personal feelings. Bedouins are not living anymore in tents in the middle of a desert, many of them are very well educated and just like the rest of us. It is only their family roots, so I don’t understand why you find them different.

    hehehehe what qualities ???? they might have some qualities that i never seem to understand or pay attention to.

    At least they are proud of who they are and they are proud of their heritage.

  9. Butterfly says:

    and by the way, the topic is about bahrainis who pretend to be bedouins and not about making fun of bedouins, so please stick to the topic!

  10. Ibn says:

    Most Arabs from the Khaleej can easily trace their roots to bedouins, but this trace dies off rapidly as you enter bilad al-Sham, Masr, and the Maghrib. This is because the ancestors of the peoples’ there werent nomads, but from other groups and empires like Persian, Hellenic, Byzantine, and Roman, who later got assimilated into the expanding Arab-Islamic Empire.

    Speaking of bedouins today, why does Kuwait refuse to grant citizenship to the “stateless Arab Bedu” within its borders? I think those people qualify as modern day bedu, no thanks to Kuwait’s refusal to naturalize them. I dont understand it. There cant possibly be that many of them anyway. So why the fear Kuwait?

    Oh well. Off to class.

    -Ibn

  11. Costa-Guy says:

    This is a very VERY old topic and it was discussed, made fun out of and people moved on because it turned out it’s not that important when you really think about it for such various reasons.

    The royal family are the oldest bedouins in Bahrain. After arriving here (Bahrain) from Zibara. The royal family came with the help and support of other “Bedouin families” which later were given the right to be “Bahraini-citizens”.

    The others (you mostly see in streets) are more like “Bedouins-wannabe”.

    So “bedouins” are only a couple of families here in Bahrain, and I won’t mention names of the tribes for the respect of them, although I know they are proud of it but I don’t want to direct this discussion towards hating or loving people because of the families they belong to.

    “Bedouins” in other GC Countries are powerful and have connections, and if you really investigate the fact, you’ll discover they are people with a high level of “manners” and ” do carry high “respect” to other people. They are very helpful people and they never refuse to help someone in need if you get to know them. I have a lot of friends from other GCC countries who are “bedouins” and they are totally different of what the media are picturing.

    The bottom line is, who wants to live this way has the right to do so and the one who wants to be a “bedouins-wannabe” has the right to do so in our “constitution”. It’s the same as I am doing, living, talking, walking like a “Bahraani“. Just make sure you don’t make a fun out of yourself and the people you represent.

    The reason I stopped giving attention to the topic is that I won’t accept people critcising me being ” Bahraani”. And I don’t see people criticizing some “Eminem or Michael Jackson or Jennifer Lopez wannabes” in Bahrain. So why attacking the bedouins because they live, walk, talk this way??

    If you are talking about this topic because you might be hinting to the “famous report” that we should not be talking about then that’s another issue!

    If you are talking about this because people are trying to image the Bahraini culture as a “Bedouins” culture then that’s a funny subject. My “bedouins” friends know not only what’s our society background like but their communities background which is only 30% “bedounis” nowadays & know that their cultures image is a mixture of cultures. Then our problem is because our “Media” still sucks in advertising our culture. Another reason why our MOI has to have some serious changes!

    Thanks for emoodz for the original post!

  12. mahmood says:

    You miss the point.

    People cannot claim to be bedouin unless they live the life of nomads; having their values and mannerisms is another issue. Therefore, when one’s ancestors have settled and became farmers and merchants and any other city pursuits, they immediately cease to be nomadic by definition, hence the only “value” they can claim to have retain is the romantic vision of the bedouin.

    Perpetrating that romance after decades of settling, and in some cases centuries, is a little gauche for my liking.

  13. People cannot claim to be bedouin unless they live the life of nomads; having their values and mannerisms is another issue.

    Being a a Bedouin does not just mean living in the desert. It’s the whole package. Plus, since when we can tell people what they can claim to be and what they cannot claim to be? I think this is getting rather personal, about the people in question. I had Bahraini friends who liked to define and present themselves as Bedouins, I respect that- even when they live in Villas by the sea.

    According to your argument even those in today’s Najd are not Bedouins, since most live in cities and are merchents or some other city profession.

    I say every Arab who doesn’t speak Arabic should never say he’s Arab because he cannot speak the language- and that’s mainly what being Arab is, what do you think?

  14. mahmood says:

    A point of view that supports my basic argument that bedouins of today are nothing more than “romantic bedouins” rather than actual fact ones. More power to them.

    I have no problem with them living their dreams, heck, they can tilt their ugal as much as they want to the left or the right, wear whatever ghutra that they deem “correct” and dance the ardhah until their feet drop off; but that does not make them bona fide bedouins.

    Bedouins, my friends, are those who:

    • 1. an Arab of the desert, in Asia or Africa; nomadic Arab.
    • 2. a nomad; wanderer.
  15. Mahmood , I fell off the chair with tears jumping off my eyes
    Looool…the photo man! it says it all

  16. My reply on Emoodz,

    I really fail to understand why would any one would be moderately interested in being a Bedouin! I mean what achievements do they have, what were they known for, even if you take it from a religion oriented point of view, Prophet Mohamed was a settler.

    Bahrain never had the environment characteristics that forced people to be Bedouins at the first place, it’s only a disparate move to catch up with the other GCC counties, and thats really funny, we are trying to catch up with the others on going back wards rather than catch up with all the development in infrastructure, education, Labor rights and what not, but guess what, if we are to be Bedouins, we don’t need any of that!!!

  17. Ebrahim says:

    I really have a few points to say:

    1)

    ____

    These “public figures” mentioned are in fact of Bedouin origin, no doubt about it. However I don’t think they are dressing, acting, and even talking the way they do in celebration of their rich heritage and history. What these “public figures” are portraying is a recent growing teen trend mainly imported from the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia young adults’ culture.

    In the 1970-1980’s, the image of a Bedouin (dusty land cruiser, tilted igaal, heavy accent..) was considered old fashioned and sometimes backward by many urban youth in gulf cities (Dubai, Doha), but especially in modernized Bahrain. For years, local jokes and idioms were and are still made about the Bedouins. However the rise of many popular GCC cultural icons (singers, poets, portraying and celebrating the Bedouin culture has given rise to the bedouin image and made it a hip sensation in the UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia starting the late 1990’s and onward. It has been catching on in Bahrain in recent years and has been seen in the local scene in many ways including:

    A) The rise in popularity of the hamdaniya (a UAE style semi turban made by tying (instead of wearing it) around the head)
    B) The increase of bedouin style poets and poetry displayed in what are now weekly poetry extra editions in our local newspapers
    C) The rise in the trend of titled igaal and the adoption of the heavy accent and new words unfamiliar to the Bahraini dialect vocabulary (mar7ib ilsa3 (Hello), isha7lik(How are you), illa (on the contrary)…

    The trend has been imported to Bahrain through the following methods:

    1) The Bahraini media’s portrayal of the King’s sons (Nasser and Khalid) in Bedouin style clothing, speaking in a Bedouin accent, enjoying originally Bedouin recreational activities (writing poetry, riding horses..)
    Their recent image has been greatly influenced by their newly made UAE royal friends, in particular (Faza’a bin Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoomnd and cousins, http://www.fazza3.com). Faza’a in particular is a “so called” poet and a competitive horse rider and is a teen cultural idol in the UAE. (Besides being the handsome rich son of the UAE’s crown prince). Nasser and Khalid’s interactions with Fazza’a and his father through horse competitions and the constant UAE media and internet frenzy circling Fazza’a is probably one of the reasons behind the behavioral change.
    Of course the Bahraini people constant bombardment by images of Nasser and Khalid by the Bahraini media has clearly left its effect on some Bahrainis.

    2) Links between Bahraini families members and their families in Qatar and the UAE have led to the transfer of some customs between each other

    3) The rise in popularity of the Bedouin image culture through our GCC media and internet sites, forums, and blogs

    ____

    2) Why are we actually focusing on such a stupid issue???! If there are some Bedouin wannabes in Bahrain, let them be. Our constitution and our “somewhat flawed” level of freedom in Bahrain guarantees that. If I want to be like J-LO, or Fazza3, Elton John, or Paris Hilton let me be in. Why are we criticizing hormone excited teens for adopting a certain trend or making a certain fashion statement!?
    If the criticism is in fact targeted at these public figures, let me assure you that these “public figures” do not represent the majority of Bahraini people nor the major minority and many people in Bahrain are not influenced by their actions but instead use them as a subject of ridicules and jokes.
    ____________

    Final word
    ____________

    In my opinion, whoever is insulted, scared, or worried about this rise of “Hip Bedouism” should really save his energy NOT targeting people’s free will to dress and act like whoever they want to be, but work on giving rise to whatever culture he adopts, through his daily actions, words, and his creativity whether it is in blogs, poetry, story telling, clothing, drawing, singing, dancing.. and whatever culture is more reflective of people’s beliefs, emotions, and background will definitely catch on.

  18. mahmood says:

    Why are we criticizing hormone excited teens for adopting a certain trend or making a certain fashion statement!?

    because I’m indirectly paying for it, and I would rather see my money going to remedy poverty and rebuilding destitute neighbourhoods and contribute toward education.

  19. Barry says:

    Ebrahim: The other side of the coin is, why not question WHY they are doing it? That’s what being a part of a country with some level of freedom brings. As long as no one is advocating it be made illegal, there’s nothing wrong with criticism.

    My view on much of this “adopting” (for teens ANYWHERE) is that it is usually “culture vultureism”, meaning you pick at whatever you think is cool or exciting, and you leave all of the other points of a culture that doesn’t interest you or isn’t cool. I personally find that disrespectful to ANY culture. It’s much like the teens who showed up to the Japanese Buddhist temple here in cosplay (costume play) for the Obon festival (summer festival for the dead). One was wearing a cheap polyester bathrobe, a cheap chinatown umbrella and sandals, while the others had cat ears and tails. They were trying to look cool, and were picking out what they thought was all of the “neat” aspects of Japanese culture, but was that respectful?

    If Bahraini teens want to be bedouins, I suggest they move on out to the deserts of northern Africa and live like a bedouin, without all of those modern conveniences to see how cool it all really is.

  20. Bahraini and proud says:

    Barry

    Said well hehehehehe let them move to the desert lol heheh i’ve learnt to never be a fake, wanna be it?? be the real thing. thank you barry…

    for example i can’t be the real thing yet in my case. but i guess i have enough pictures with the statue of vladimer lenin :whistle:

  21. Barry says:

    One thing I should also add is, if you ARE going to adopt elements of a culture, be authentic as possible and respectful. That means research, learning about what you’re doing. I’ve worn kimono (Japanese clothing), but I’ve done it right to make sure I was wearing it respectfully. KNOW the significance behind it and why the people from where it comes do what they do.

  22. Ebrahim says:

    Barry: “One thing I should also add is, if you ARE going to adopt elements of a culture, be authentic as possible and respectful. That means research, learning about what you’re doing”

    Barry, Nasser and Khalid, the so called “public figures” are merely teens. What is such talk about them researching a culture?!? Have you ever seen a teen researching a culture before showing it off or imitating?

    Again, Why are we making such A BIG DEAL and criticizing these two little kids who really don’t represent anyone BUT themselves???!???!

    And Mahmood, what do you mean: “because I’m indirectly paying for it, and I would rather see my money going to remedy poverty and rebuilding destitute neighbourhoods and contribute toward education”????

  23. mahmood says:

    Ebrahim, I did not criticise the royal young men nor did I refer to them in this article, they are certainly not the object here however the similarity in the situation might be.

    Like I said above, I have no problem with bedouins nor do I have any with pseudo-bedouins or the romantics either. If that’s what gives them the kicks, then that’s their concern. What I am against; however, is the intention to show that Bahrain and Bahrainis are something they aren’t. Bahrain and Bahrainis have never been bedouin nor do they have any of those roots. They have been settlers, merchants and farmers for thousands of years.

    If, in a romantic sense, people want to embrace the bedouin culture and spend time, effort and money to show it off, then let them do so by all means, but I would rather them not use any public funds for doing so. Any funds generated in this regard are funds taken away from – I think – much more germane enterprises.

  24. Barry says:

    “Barry, Nasser and Khalid, the so called “public figures” are merely teens. What is such talk about them researching a culture?!? Have you ever seen a teen researching a culture before showing it off or imitating?”

    Yes, yes I have. PLENTY of teens. Just because they are teens doen’t mean they shouldn’t be respectful. It’s no wonder manners and politeness die every year (and I see plenty of it working at a University with the incoming Freshmen). We must have grown up with different values, since the way I was raised, you don’t do something that disrepects someone’s culture. You enter into it respectfully.

    My policy is this: You get a pass the first time, but the second time around, you get no breaks.

    You go ahead and rock on with ideas that teens shouldn’t be respectful to others and their cultures. You keep thinking that just because they are teens doesn’t mean they shouldn’t think about what they do. You go and rock on with your bad self. I on the other hand will talk ALL about them if they look and act like disrespectful clowns. That’s my freedom of expression and choice.

    LOL

  25. NewMe says:

    Bahrain and Bahrainis have never been bedouin nor do they have any of those roots. They have been settlers, merchants and farmers for thousands of years.

    I have to disagree…
    there are plenty of Bahrainis descending from bedouin ancestors…
    however, their roots are as old as the tree of life…

    regardless, almost none of the living Bahrainis have ever lived a bedouin life or was brought up in a bedouin culture not in Bahrain nor neighboring gulf coast overlooking countries…
    no tents… no camels… no grazing sheep… and settling randomly near drinking water… none of that…
    old or modern Bahrain this sort of life style never existed, hence all what we see them doing is a mock up of a life not even their 7th great grandfather has lived!!!

    Saying that now i realize were your comment came from…
    Guess u are right!

    Bahrain and Bahrainis have never been bedouin

  26. Dana says:

    I wish people stop judging each other and let others live they way they choose. Close-mindedness is rampant in this country, and the core liberal ideal is lost in the fight for “freedom”.

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