C'est moi.

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Tara Bradford Photography

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05 August 2006



Fascinating post! But my jaw dropped when I saw "Safeway in Amman"...WHAT?! They have Safeway in Jordan?! :)


I love this piece.

May be also because I am (although not born a Palestinian) just like the kids who grew up in rubbles (of broken home -although not in the material sense) and have had to work my way out of the suppressive and confusing web of culture, religions and the desire to be the person whom I was meant to be.

Nomad by choice. I love it.

ian russell

another interesting and informative piece, tara. very well put. :o)


This again, was a head crackin wide open, post. One of the things I've heard OPRAH say...was that ignorance was forgivable..but once you KNEW something, it was unforgivable to act as if you didn't understand. You now had the responsibility of KNOWING better.

And as always, I loved the last image..of the woman, and the jewelry, and the wanderers. Very personal, and intimate.


I loved CheapTarts" phrase "a gift of enlightenment" and Don's "seeing the world through very wide eyes. This far down the comment list, it is hard to find original ways to express appreciation for the beautiful clarity you've shared with us "scribblers." Thank you, Tara.


wow, thank you for that post, it was a refreshing change in perspective...


The New Zealand woman who married the Bedouin is called Marguerite van Geldermalsen, and she has recently published a book called "Married to a Bedouin". I haven't read it, but I believe it's very interesting.


Again, I have no interest in excusing Israeli responsibility in this mess. I'm just interested in spreading the blame around. I read self-critical articles in Haaretz every day, but I don't see much self-analysis in the Arab media:

From Arab News, October 21, 2004:

Expatriates of all nationalities are entitled to apply for Saudi citizenship and their travels abroad with re-entry visas will not disqualify them, press reports said yesterday quoting senior officials...

...But Al-Watan Arabic daily reported that the naturalization law would not be applicable to Palestinians living in the Kingdom as the Arab League has instructed that Palestinians living in Arab countries should not be given citizenship to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their right to return to their homeland.

To me that smacks of treating people as second class citizens for the purpose of political reasons.


I loved the beginning of this post. While not raised with a religious bent, my mother would often say, "...but before the grace of God go I," whenever I failed to appreciate what we had that other's don't. The initial portion of this blog took me right there.

....and then off to Bedouin-dom. How the heck was I so effortlessly transported from the middle of a Palenstinian sewage infested refugee camp to the tents of the modern nomad? ...but, there I was. Marvelous....just marvelous.

Writer Bug

What a great story! I loved the part about poor Palestinians knowing 2 or more languages and putting us affluent, well-educated Americans to shame. I learned a lot from your post. Great job!


What a facinating story. I have thought of this myself-- how fortunate I am to live in an affluent country. I loved reading about the educational and hospitable traditions of the people.


I loved reading this ~ I couldn't pull it together this weekend to write for the prompt, but I'm loving reading everyone's take, yours included.

Paris Parfait

Neil, every country in the Arab World -and indeed the West- is full of Palestinians who are working and earning a living. The fact that Arab countries donate money to the Palestinians is a matter of public record - it's been going on for decades. I did not recommend that people read ONLY the late Edward Said's 1980 book "The Question of Palestine." I recommended they read it as a starting point. If I provided a recommended reading list of all the books I have read and admired about the Middle East, it would be a very long post indeed. Another good book for people unfamiliar with the situation is "Through Different Eyes" by Hyman Bookbinder and James Abourezk. Perhaps you will be kind enough to read my future posts about the Palestinian plight before jumping to conclusions. I do not intend to provide historial background in the comments section of this weblog. I appreciate your interest in seeing that both sides of the issues are portrayed. Presenting two sides of the story is fundamental to everything I have learned as a journalist, a writer and a thinking, caring human being.


I would love to hear more about what type of aid goes to the Palestinians from the wealthy Arab countries -- and what for. Do you know of any place to research this information? My impression was that most of the Arab leadership doesn't want to improve the life of the Palestinians because this way, the "Arab street" could maintain its anger at Israel rather than look inward at the corruptness and anti-democratic tendencies of their own leadership. Do these countries accept Palestinian refugees if they want to come to their country?

I studied under Edward Said when I was a student at Columbia University. He is a brilliant man, but you are telling your readers to get the most one-sided view possible by only telling them to read his books.


Thank you again for your words. These are the things we don't hear about in reports from the media in this country.


Another example of how much more people appreciate receiving things when they don't believe they're entitled to them.

Education - even when it *is* given freely - is still something that has to be appreciated and worked at.


This was a moving piece. I didn't realize there were so many children in refugee camps in Palestine. I did know that many Palestinians become doctors and lawyers which, I think, is why I didn't realize how much poverty there was in that region.

I also didn't know that the nomads made comfortable livings in many cases. You know, it sounds like a beautiful life but I bet an American like me would find it quite challenging to live such a simple life.

I read your post about the art installment in Paris first and after seeing the picture of the refugee camp, I find myself repeating Peace Now over and over in my mind.


I enjoyed your take on this prompt T. You are an incredible journalist, but your writing style is not limited to it. I loved reading about the Bedouin tribes and found myself craving the lifestyle of a nomad. Is there something deep within the psyche of everyone that wants to be a nomad?? I found myself a little jealous of the blonde girl from NZ...and found myself savoring your words and experiences in the Middle East. I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading your perspective.


I enjoyed this post-
you have such a gift -
which is your love
of the world as our family-
and a gift of writing as
well - you write with such
beauty and never sound
"drippy" or precious.

So many delightful images
reading this post.

Paris Parfait

I will be writing future posts about the plight of the Palestinians. Meanwhile, for excellent background information on the Palestinian struggle, I recommend reading the late Edward Said's 1980 book "The Question of Palestine." As for Neil's comment in which he quotes someone alleging that the Palestinians are Jordanian, this statement is simply wrong. And while I haven't much to say for the Saudi government, the Saudis annually provide millions of dollars of aid to the Palestinians, as do many other wealthy Arab countries.

ally bean

Tara, this was a great take on this week's prompt. I learn so much reading your blog. Thanks.


As I mentioned before, there are always other stories out there for every fact and situation. The plight of the Palestinians and their poverty is a sad one. Sixty years after the partition, the Palestinians have not fared well.

Maybe it's my own personality, my Western psychological sensibility, or my own insecurity, but I'm always blaming myself for things and feeling guilty. I think many of us are like that. I wish this was also a sentiment in the Arab world.

It's an easy target to blame the "Zionists" as the cause of all problems, but the Palestinians are also a victim of Arab obesssion with revenge and lost pride over a tiny non-Muslim country in their midst, which has always been more important than actually helping this bereaved people. First of all, a good part of foreign money never got to the people, but went into the pocket of Palestinian leadership, such as former PLO leader Arafat. And for all the supposed comraderie of the Arab world, the treatment of the Palestinians has been horrid, mostly because they would like to keep them in a perptual state of victimhood to keep the moral highground in the Western media.

Hisham Youssef, spokesman for the 22-nation Arab League, acknowledged that Palestinians live 'in very bad conditions,' but he said the policy is meant 'to preserve their Palestinian identity’. “If every Palestinian who sought refuge in a certain country was integrated and accommodated into that country, there won't be any reason for them to return to Palestine,” AP reported. Jordan would be a clear exception to this pan-Arab policy, where Palestinians are granted full citizenship and rights. As a result, except the 13% living in UNRWA camps, Palestinians are being progressively integrated into Jordanian society without international welfare subsidies. This would make sense because the Palestinians are Jordanians to begin with."

Here's more about the treatment of the Palestinians in the Arab world.

I know I feel terribly guilty to live a decent life when so many people live in poverty in the United States. I'm curious how a super-wealthy Saudi on the polo field feels about his Palestinian brethren. Does he support them with weapons or better living conditions? Or anything at all?

Daisy Lupin

Thank you for this post and your other recent postings. I applaud you. So many people do not want to post about realities. I know my blog is about village living, but I am so concerned about the world situation that I felt I had to make a posting on Friday about the stupidity of war and our leaders. I know some people are frightened to step outside their comfort zone, but if every blogger would just make a comment on someone else's blog or make a posting themselves. We could gauge how much outrage this current world situation is causing. Sorry if I am sounding too much of an old hippie but it stil stands doesn't it 'Make Love Not War.'!


Another wonderful photograph which needs little words to drive the point...


I really enjoyed reading this Tara, your experiences and insight are always presented in a wise, compassionate light. Rare to find these days!


I really enjoyed reading this. You know, I've noticed again and again how hospitable and friendly people from Muslim countries are.

And I loved living in Turkey, doors always opened and the Turks took in this stray NZer often.

My young students were learning their 3rd language in both schools I worked in.

I'm glad you're writing about this ... the 'so-called' west needs to wake up the often stunning reality of those other worlds too often misrepresented and misunderstood.

By the way, have you read 'I Saw Ramallah' by Mourid Barghouti?


I meant to say that I have never been able to get the image of Nomads out of my mind. If I close my eyes, I can see them immediately.


I have never been able to get the image of Nomad families walking along the road in the desert of the Negev in Israel. Nor have I forgotten the time that a man, who sat the entire day in Jerusalem with his legs twisted inward, begging for money, suddenly got up when no one was looking and walked home.
I have always felt grateful that I was, not only born in the West, but was able to begin my education in the tolerant 70's.
The world owes poor children everywhere an apology. There are so many resources and so few willing to give.


You are an amazing journalist, Tara, I can see why you chose that career. One of the things I admire most about you is how well informed and knowledgeable you are with respect to the subjects you write about; often from first hand experience.

My knowledge of history and politics is not nearly as good as it should be, which is another reason why I enjoy coming to your site because I always learn something.

It is voices like yours that I would like to hear more in the political arena, then I might actually listen to what is beeing said.

Thank you! Kerstin


Very interesting and definitely food for thought. Westerners do not always appreciate the advantages that Western birth confers - what a pity!


I learn so much from reading your posts...thanks for teaching and for sharing.


After three days I'd be ready for most visitors to leave, too :)
Thanks for another informative and entertaining post, Tara!


To think of the turn that woman's life took! Wow! Not your average move. LOL



Really interesting post Tara. I enjoy learning when I come here.

Fat Charlatan

Thank you for sharing your insight. I'm glad I found your blog. The story of the woman falling in love with the Bedouin man was wonderful--would make a great profile (a la Susan Orlean), short story, or film. There's a lot we can learn from the Bedouin people as well.

Keep writing!


It is heartbreaking, Tara, that 26 years later the turmoil of that region in worse than ever. I wonder if the Bedouins are as obliging as they were in the recent past. One could hardly blame them if they were more careful regarding to whom they offered hospitality.


You see the world through very wide eyes! Always an interesting read!


I always enjoy reading your posts, they are always so insightful - and make me stop and think.

Thankyou thankyou, again!



Thanks for sharing a more human side of the Palestinain people. Your post made me remember to stop and be thankful that I have a place called home that I can always go back to when my travels are done, and that it's a safe, secure and comfortable place.

Cheap Tarts

Your posts are always a gift of enlightenment for me! It is so easy to live in a happy bubble.

Thanks for sharing your experiences & photos. Much appreciated. ; )

The Tart


thank you for shedding the light on the palestinian situation. you gave it an empathy dimension from the point of view of living in the west. your same readers who feel bad for the palestinians should make the link with the reason these people are in refugee camps in the first place and maybe this could give them an explanation as to why the middle east conflict is still a conflict.


excellent writing. it's amazing how we take absolutely everything for granted. so sad.


Thank you for all you do abroad. You are a compassionate American. The world need to know that there are more of us.
Not all like Bush & co.


I learn so much about the middle east when I stop by your blog. Thank you for sharing stories we never hear. Looking forward to more:)


Quite a reality check for those of us priveleged to live in the west. Thanks for this informative and interesting post.


An extremely interesting and informative article. I enjoyed reading it.

Regarding my post that you commented on. It's factual, not fiction. I really did have a drug habit that I kicked.

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