1) The Tribe
|Training sessions for the local community|
The family of Sheikh Saleem Barakat, the family elder, has been living in this area for a long time; the exact number of years and where they originally came from still need to be investigated.
Sheikh Saleem is the second of seven siblings. His mother, Um Saleem, is the first wife of Hajj Barakat.
Hajj Salem Barakat, brother of Saleem Barakat, worked for 26 years as a guard at the temple of Serabit el-Khadim.
In South Sinai, it is traditional for a guard to teach his son the ins and outs of the trade in order to qualify him for guardsman status. Salem was taught his trade as young boy by his father and in turn is teaching his sons. This also has a security aspect; the police in the area can never master the lie of the land as well as the Bedouins. The inheritance of the trade makes it easier for the police forces to assign responsibility; “guard” families are assigned certain areas to protect.
In this part of the world, it is “shameful” to appeal to a regular court of law. Rather, most use what are commonly known as Urfi or unofficial courts, formed of the elders of the tribe and witnessed by the families of the sparring parties. We have now heard of an elderly person who collects all the Urfi rules and judgments. We shall pay him a visit on our next trip.
The Bedouins have an accent of their own that seems at first quite hard to understand, but is in fact a mixture of very fast speech and altered letters.
Examples of linguistic differences are as follows:
Sabaat = saba = lioness (sign of female courage). Another word with the same meaning is = meberbeshat
Bastaweek = beskweet = biscuits
Farasheih = khobs = bread, especially that made by Bedouin women