Bedouins on freedom of movement

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‘One person can do only one thing: to feel love and inner peace. This person can build a group of people to make peace between all nations possible.’ Arab bedouin Mohamed Alrashaydeh. Remembering these words we wish everybody a wise, loving and peaceful 2016!

On December 21, 2014 we, the Millennium Travel group and Urban Tribes, were visiting a Bedouin family in the desert of Palestine. For generations this tribe lives with family on the edge of civilization close to the frontier of Palestine, bordering Jordan along the Dead Sea. The oldest member of the tribe is 86 years, he drinks camel milk daily and has 14 kids, of which the youngest is 6 years. We were visiting with the intention to experience how they live from their nomadic existence, outside inhabited city limits. Bedouins live with nature and animals, traveling from place to place. This tribe has the choice to live in the city, however they opt for the wide desert like home. On the coast of the Dead Sea the chief Mohammed (around 64 years) is living with three generations of family members in seclusion, they have build their own community. With a gentle look he welcomes us to his community and land and speaks to us from his life experience as a human being. With a modest desire to share his story to us on original Palestinian life in this self-sustaining eco-system.

Family Al Rashish - photo: Elien van Riet
Family Al Rashish – photo: Elien van Riet

In the larger context, I can see that this tribe lives literally and figuratively at the Dead Sea. An area where Israel is boss and where there is battle (mental, physical, emotional), violence, death, darkness, oppression and aggression. Both the Palestinians and the Israelis have limited space for movement, often with clear judgments. With literal and figurative signs one is seen as the enemy and oppressor, the other as the aggressor and terrorist. A society that is fed and based on fear. The Israeli walls build around the Palestinian cities as the ultimate symbol! There seems little freedom of movement to be present.

Right to Movement - phot: Elien van Riet
Right to Movement – photo: Elien van Riet


What I have learned from today is that Mohammed indicates that he experiences ‘limitation of movement’ in the city. Therefore he seeks for the boundlessness and finds his freedom out of town! I see a pure and humble family that shares their life together. In humility they share each cornerstone of their lives with a clear horizon. With hundreds of kilometers of stone, wells, three hundred animals, three green trees, free birds, light yellow hills, lots of sand and more stones that stand the test of time. After half an hour walk, Mohammed opens a valve of a well where the family is drinking from. The Dead Sea is no sign of life, too much salt. At the same time, these Bedouins with limited resources remain in a massive vibrant state. They are happy, peaceful and healthy through their strong foundation: liberty building, family skills and belief in a simple wide desert.

Bedouin boy looking at Jordan from Palestine. Photo: Elien van Riet
Bedouin boy looking at Jordan from Palestine. Photo: Elien van Riet

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