Contemporary Issues about Globalization and Status of the Bedouin People

From Bedouininfo, the free wikispace


Particularly since World War II the nations that now encompass the lands that many Bedouin roam have been making it harder for them to continue their nomadic lifestyle.

Saudi Arabia and Syria claimed Bedouin range lands, while Jordan put bans on the amount of goat grazing that can take place. This diminishing of freedom for the Bedouin has led to increased conflicts. (Encyclopedia Britannica Online).

One of the worst places for the Bedouin it seems has been Israel. The Bedouin populations in the rural areas of Israel have been caught up in the Israel-Palestinian conflicts, while still being ignored and isolated from the decision making process over land claims. The Bedouin believe their heritage is linked the most strongly to the land. They also believe that they survive off the land the most peacefully. The Israelis have actually settled some parts of the Negev, which compromises about half of that Bedouin population’s land. This has led to increased pressure on the Bedouin to give up their lands and give up their nomadic way of life. The Green Patrol, and Israeli governmental agency, has stifled the movement of the Bedouin and taking away their animals, dismantled tents and destroyed crops planted on unapproved lands. Laws have also made the material they use for tent making illegal leaving them in partially made dwellings for full-sized families. ( Schumacher).
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The list of bans and efforts that the Israeli government has taken to force the Bedouin out continues. Water and electricity are scarce resources for the Bedouin and the government shut down a well that has been their consistent supply of water for years. Also homes that are built on lands that are not considered part of Bedouin territory are destroyed. The Bedouin feel as though they are treated like they don’t even exist in the eyes of the Israeli government (Shumacher).

For the Bedouin that do choose to stop living nomadically their alternative isn’t much better. The government set up seven townships that sort of resemble the reservations of the Native Americans. These homes and settled lands are meant to help provide the people with better services, yet they have become the poorest towns in Israel that lack some of the most basic resources. Major steps still need to be taken to bring equality to the Bedouin (Shumacher).

It isn’t a hopeless situation though. While some still inhabit their tribal lands and deal with very poor conditions, some have moved near wealthy settlements to find low paying work. Others have used their traditional collective mentality to adapt to current day conditions. For example, Haidja Alsana, a Bedouin woman, became a part of a cooperative business in the Negev called the Lakiya Weaving Project. She weaves beautiful traditional Bedouin rugs and has used to proceeds to support her family and send her children to school. While her story is a bright spot in the lives of the Bedouin few have found successful lives under these conditions. However, there is a growing support among advocacy groups to help the Bedouin and hopefully allow them to have a brighter future that doesn’t include totally abandoning their traditional way of life completely (Shumacher).
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Traditionally, Bedouin peoples are categorized by power and status based on the size of territories, but can also be differentiated by the types of animals they each herd more or less exclusively. The top ranking Bedouin people are considered camel nomads. They take over huge plots of land, with tribes in the Sahara, Syria and the Arabian desserts. The level below is the sheep and goat nomads of Jordan Syria and Iraq. These Bedouin stay mostly near lands that have already been cultivated. Then there are the Cattle Nomads of South Arabia and Sudan. (Encyclopedia Britannica Online).

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