A History of Bedouin of al-Naqab: Tiyāha Qdeirāt al-Ṣāne‘

  • Henriette Dahan-Kalev
  • Emilie Le Febvre
Part of the Middle East Today book series (MIET)


To begin Amal’s narrative, we chose to start with the above story to introduce the social identity of al-Naqab Bedouin people and their connection to their “fatherland” in the early twentieth century. Oral poems or gaṣīda (pl. gaṣyāid) were used to entertain, remember historical events, and maintain knowledge in Bedouin societies throughout the Middle East. These tales contribute to Bedouin heritage and effectively present the social landscape of al-Naqab as envisaged by its members, a portrayal we appropriate in order to further delve into the “history” of Amal’s family and society. This complex social setting is where Amal begins her own personal history as a member of al-Naqab Bedouin people, a society where “… blood both links people to the past and binds them to the present. As a link to the past, through genealogy, blood is essential to the definition of cultural identity” (Abu Lughod [1986] 2000, 41). For Amal, genealogical knowledge and the nobility, or aṣl, of her ancestors are important affiliations that guide her activisms, but are also significant connections that also inform her relationship with others. More specifically, Amal suggests her engagements are not only sustained by her own al- Ṣāne‘ tribal legacy, but are in many ways inspired by her forefathers over the past century. She explains:

Some in our tribe were very strongly involved in political area like my grandfather, who was a judge and my great grandfather spoke with King Abdullah of Jordan. King Hussein is someone he used to meet with. Now they say look at me and say, “Why has she became like this?” I think it wasn’t only because something I did but was something that I got from my tribe. Like everyone in my tribe, we are strong and educated people. (El’Sana-Alh’jooj interview 2007)


Israeli Government Tribal Land British Mandate Bedouin Population Bedouin Town 
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Copyright information

© Henriette Dahan-Kalev and Emilie Le Febvre 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henriette Dahan-Kalev
  • Emilie Le Febvre

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