How do you capture the entire character of a culture that has no written record, has lived for centuries in relative isolation and exists in complete harmony with one of the world’s most extreme environments?
Bedouin reside in every principal country in the region.
Unlike most indigenous tribes who eventually get displaced by immigrants, the Bedouin represent the common heritage of the Arab people. By understanding their history and culture, we can better understand the middle east, overall. The knowledge, wisdom and history that is at risk forms the historical foundation of all Arab people’s.
The Bedu have maintained a quasi nomadic quasi sedentary existence for centuries living in equilibrium with their surroundings, integrating into their host countries while never losing their own identity.
Creando un ponte di pace fondato sulla cultura e comprensione.
Bedouin Aid Benefit
Firenze, 13 gennaio 2011 – “Se iniziassimo a vederci come fratelli, tutti impegnati nelle stesse cose e con gli stessi problemi, forse potremmo iniziare a porre fine a questa follia. Noi siamo padri, madri, sorelle, lavoratori, imprenditori, emigranti, amanti e soprattutto, figli… Noi viviamo nel Medio Oriente, e nell’Occidente, nell’Atlantic Avenue o in Edgware Road… Siamo Musulmani, Cristiani, Sikhs, Buddisti, Jews, Druse, Persiani e molti altri…
Fino a quando ci considereremo diversi, le guerre non avranno mai fine. Quando inizieremo a vedere il volto del nostro nemico come quello di un nostro fratello, allora ci potrà essere ancora speranza.”Mark Abouzeid, co-founder BHP
A center spread article by Susannah Glynn emphasizes the importance of the Bedu Culture and highlights steps BHP is taking to help safeguard this intangible heritage.
Co-founder and project manager for the BHP, Mark Abouzeid explains:
‘There is so much knowledge bound up in Bedu oral traditions. The Bedu of Petra and Wadi Rum, Jordan, for example, have preserved specific knowledge related to the flora and fauna of the area, traditional medicine, camel husbandry, craftsmanship, and tracking and climbing skills. As well as wanting to preserve this heritage, there is also so much the modern world could learn from ancient knowledge distilled through the generations.’
As part of the ongoing programme with schools, Mark Abouzeid introduced the Bedouin people of Wadi Rum and the work of BHP to students of the International School of Florence on March 23rd.
The school has monthly assemblies to increase the awareness of students about the world they live in and how they can help.
Abouzeid made two presentations, one to the 9th and 10th grades and another to the 6th and 7th grades.
“I was quite impressed with these children…they were truly interested and asked very insightful questions. It was especially heart warming to have one 6th grade girl ask me how she could follow a career that would let her be involved in such work.” Mark Abouzeid
Over the past few weeks, much has been said about the latest bid by archaeologists, government officials and tourism experts to have Wadi Rum admitted to a prestigious group of natural heritage sites named UNESCO.
There can be little question that the protected zone’s unique landscapes, natural rock formations, flora and fauna justify warrant inclusion on the list.
That it remains in question whether the bid should be a single site application or mixed site, including cultural and environmental importance, is surprising.
Experienced real estate agents know that every culture has its own odor that reminds us of home.
In America, home sellers are told to stew apples before potential buyers arrive; in Italy, braising onions has the same effect. These are the scents that take us back to our childhood and help create our sense of comfort, safety and belonging. They are some of the most basic aspects of cultural identity.
In trying to understand any ethnicity, our olfactory senses have great importance…and yet they are invariably ignored by the tools used to represent culture: photos, video, recording, text and art. As foreign entrants, how can we identify and capture this most essential genome in the cultural DNA?
“When a child is born, the father goes into the desert in search of the largest scorpion he can find. The eldest woman slowly cooks the animal in a pan over an open fire until it melts like butter. This salve is massaged into the skin of the baby. The baby gets sick as a consequence of the scorpion venom but not enough to do it harm. I was bitten by a scorpion a few years ago and nothing happened. This is one of the traditional medicines of our people that is being lost.” Attayak
The Bedu are settled and nomadic communities living in the southern part of Jordan, particularly near Petra and Wadi Rum, within a region of semi-arid highlands and deserts. These conditions have allowed for the development and existence in complementary relationship of both types of communities.
Several Bedu tribes, namely the Bdul, the Ammarin and the Sa’idiyyin, continue to use the Nabatean water-collecting cisterns and caves near Petra. The Bedu communities inhabiting this area keep alive a traditional pastoral culture and related skills. The Bedu of Petra and Wadi Rum have preserved specific knowledge related to the flora and fauna of the area, traditional medicine, camel husbandry, tent-making craftsmanship, and tracking and climbing skills.
UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage initiative in detail. protecting and preserving oral traditions, history and knowledge of 90 cultures globally. According to the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) – or living heritage – is the mainspring of our cultural diversity and its maintenance a guarantee for continuing creativity.
The Convention states that the ICH is manifested, among others, in the following domains:
The 2003 Convention defines ICH as the practices, representations, expressions, as well as the knowledge and skills, that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage. Continue reading →