In Search of Nomads: An English Obsession from Hester Stanhope to Bruce Chatwin by John Ure
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
All across the Middle East, Northern Africa, Iran and Asia there are or were countless tribes of nomads. In parts of North Africa, Arabia and Syria they were Bedouin. In North Africa you have the Tuaregs, Moors and Berbers. In Iran you have the Lurs, Quashkais and Bakhtairi. In Mongolia you have Kirgystan Turks, and Mongol. All through out the years various Europeans and Americans ventured into these nomadic terriritories. The view these Europeans had of these nomads was often times romanticized, other times the view point was one of disdain. Nomad, regardless of their label, made their living hunting, drinking water from wells and sometimes raiding. They disdain the agricultural lifestyle or sedentary lifestyle but can still be territorial of their grazing and water ground.
The Bakhtiaris are located in Southern Iran, they came here with the Mongols back in the 13th century. These nomads have never enjoyed an easy relationship with the governing authority. Often times there were crackdowns in order to confiscate their weapons. They would fight against the governing authorities. These nomads often times travel beyond the Zagros Mountains to herd their sheep. The Quashkai are another set of nomads in Iran.
The Bedouin of Arabia are probably the most famous. TE Lawrence and Pasha Glubb were two famous British military officers who worked extensively with the Arabian Bedouin. Both helped form Bedouin military units to fight against the Germans and the Turks during World War One. Glubb Pasha helped form the Jordanian Army but issues with King Hussein caused his departure. Lawrence felt that nomadic lifestyles were pushed onto the weaker tribes as stronger tribes would come and push them off the choicest of land.
Going further into Asia the nomads are very prevalent in Afghanistan. There are Hazars, Pashtun, Afghans etc. Nomads are also in Mongolia and Kirystan. The Mongols use Camels to move around the desert and tend not o be as smart and flashy as the Turks of Kyrgistan. Mongols and Turks both live in Yurts. The turks use horses and tend to have nicer accommodation.
Finally the journey goes back to North Africa where the Tuaregs reign supreme. They are a mighty nation consisting of tribes. They are normally dressed in blue and are very protective of their domains. They have resentment against foreigners. They guard their pathways and water walls quite jealously. The Moors tend to be more individualistic and settle in smaller settlement.
Over the years, Europeans have been fascinated with nomads, it has been going on since the Crusades. The explorers mentioned in the book are numerous I cannot remember them all. Read the book it is fun, enlightening and enjoyable.
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