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Crawling on The Dust الزحف على التراب

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My project is not about Arab Bedouins in general. "Arab Bedouins" is a very generic name, many tribes are Bedouins. I visually document some tribes of the Nomadic Bedouins in Egypt Particularly the nomadic tribes who are currently in Egypt's Delta and the canal region. Haj Hani, his full name is Hani El Sayed Selim Hammad I know Haj Hani for more than four years now What interested me so much was that I wanted to document this nomadic and unsettled lifestyle they had. I remember the first call with Haj Hani, four years ago. Back then we agreed to meet, but then he told me not to come because they are having some problems. So we postponed it, and I called him after 10 days and told him I am ready to come. He still told me not to come because they still have problems, and I felt he was just trying sidestep. But I called him again, and then he said do not come because my buffalo died. This made me even more curious, the animal is very important to him. They still nomadically travel around because of their animals because they are their capital and source of income. I then decided to ride the next day and go to him, and when I arrived I called him and informed him that I am in town and that I want to see him. But he told me "I am not in Darin village right now, I am elsewhere" So this was the second thing that showed me the "unsettled" and "nomadic" life they live. Sing something for Farah, Haj Hani "Once you have visited us, our world became better" " Bless your parents who were the reason we meet you" I am Hani Abo El Sayid Selim From the Selim branch of El Hababla Tribe. In total there are four family branches, Selim is one of them. Our Arab Bedouins are different because they are well integrated in surrounding villages and provinces. They started to even adapt some of these province's characters and world views, that are different than other Arab Bedouins. - How do you differ for instance from "El Tarabeen" tribe settled in Sinai? El Tarabeen are conservative El Tarabeen are really conservative! All what I wish for is that people be moderate and good. Secularism is intruding our lives now, We are suffering now of how these cities around are affecting us and our children, if they go to school, they generally learn bad stuff from the city people. We only learn from the West "fashion", we don't learn something that may benefit us. Now all what we follow is "fashion", You, for instance, are now dressed up following the fashion .. well, it is not really acceptable that girls here dress up like you. Of course this is up to you, it is a personal choice, I am just saying my opinion. Please do not get offended. For me, It is not alright that a girl goes out around with her hair uncovered, except if she was still a young girl. Oh, this is a picture of your traditional dresses! Yeah, I can let you try them on. This is a very precious dress, it is not very easy for me to give. You just need to tailor it into your size, and it will be great! This is the best gift I could get! You are very precious, Farah Tell me more about your traditional dresses, Here they are, our Bedouin dresses. What is the fashion? Every year there is a new style, yeah? Yes, exactly So what are the names of some styles you like? I know "The evening's Taxi" dress, what else? There is the "Die, you poor" dress, because it is very expensive. You get the fabric? Yes we do buy it, then we take it to the tailor to design it this way. Girls nowadays what? Are more into the modern dresses. Like you guys, they do not really wear our traditional dresses as much But in weddings? Yeah, also in weddings Even in weddings they don't wear the traditional dress?! They do wear it, but not as much as we used to. But it is really great you have such a beautiful fashion and pretty dresses Not more beautiful than you, Farah It was important that I continue visiting them for many years, one day I see a new baby born, in another day I see a funeral. Few months ago, in my last visit to Haj Hani he had a new baby that I photographed. In the journey, their journey or what I will also call mine with them, I have travelled with them around many different cities and villages. During these years, I have seen the hardships of this nomadic travelling, I have seen how struggling it is to travel with their animals, I have generally seen all the difficulties they face on the road. I have also attended many weddings with them. Also, as they continuously travel, they encounter animal diseases or accidents, And to them this is a very unfortunate loss! I have seen how hard it is for their children to go to school, they keep moving between cities and villages so it is not feasible for them to get enrolled in a school. They started to grow up and see that there is an alternative "settled" lifestyle, and they realized that some people do have houses and don't continuously travel like them. Also, their dreams that continuously change. The confusion between; does a settled life appeal to them? Or do they prefer their continuous movement and nomadic travel? What is better? This is always ambiguous and perplexing to them. So, my son keeps asking me "Why do we live this way?" "Why do not we live like other people?" "Why don't we work and live like other people, Dad?" My son is only 12 years, and he tells me that we should change this nomadic life! But I told him, this is my father's and grandfather's life. I don't know how to do any other thing! I do not know another life. Come beside me, I believe that my opportunities weren't so different from theirs, I see myself in so much in their environment. Because, for instance, I didn't really receive good education as a child. I from a small village from Mallawi in Menia, Egypt. It was really important that after my unfortunate educational experience, to leave my village and go to Cairo. And work on many things that I have missed out, a language that I didn't learn well, and an education that was not good enough. And I started working harder and self-teaching. I believe that the continuous movement, although really tiring is my only way to know what do I really want to be or to reach. I think I will always be travelling, just like them. And this is really important, there is something that we both share together. What are these notebooks? I had this one since I started working on the project in 2016. I started to write down our conversations, or more like notes that I scribble down from our daily life, mine or when I am with the Nomadic tribes that I visit and see. Here, I wrote some points that I had to work on for the project ; Who are the Nomadic Bedouins? Their trading activities, marriage, shelter, education, laws, dreams, graveyards and funerals, how do they burry? How do they find and rent the lands? The hardest moments they have encountered? and the happiest? The stars and other things they believe in? The social aspect, their clothes and dresses. Agriculture and those who left them and started to settle, And most importantly; Why do they continuously travel? A lot of things I have scribbled down in my notebooks. Here I have documented the journey's experience. I described my journey, on how I have prepared for the project and how did I get the idea. I can quickly read an excerpt for you. I wrote that the beginning was when I failed to get enrolled in a private university in Cairo, and then went back to Meniya, and then traveled again.. I was describing my continuous attempts and travels. I was in Cairo, but I wrote about the dream of going to the "big city", as. I come from a small village. I wrote about the struggles and difficulties in my journey as some one who was born in a village and moved to the city at a young age, and had to take care of rent, bills, and the fact that I will eat alone. When I was back home, my family and mother used to help me out with everything. I didn't really feel that I was responsible about something, back then. But now, all of the responsibilities and struggles were my choice. I have chosen the journey with all what it carries from difficulty. I wanted this hardship, although it is tiring most of the time but at the end you realize it was beneficial and necessary. I taught myself a lot and I have seen different things. And this is what I have seen in the Nomads' lives as well, they struggle so much, but in their journey they learn a lot from the road. By road I mean the streets they walk through, the people they meet, and their cost-benefit. They always confront this risk; that they aren't settled somewhere. They continuously move .. My grandmother once told me that "In movement there is bless " and they have embraced this bless. I don't think I can ever go back to my settled life in Meniya. But unfortunately the continuous travel is not easy, but is the only way. Just as if we are "crawling on the dust", this is an expression I have heard from the Nomadic Bedouins They always said "We are crawling on the dust" ..

Video Details

Duration: 14 minutes and 14 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 0
Posted by: farahhallaba on May 3, 2020

A film about Ali Zaraay & his project on Nomadic Bedouins in Egypt. Through their journeys, Ali was able to see himself in their struggles, instability and quest for self realization. They both crawl on dust; struggling in their continuous movement following something as unstable and uncertain as dust.
This film explores what in such an unsettled lifestyle makes it worthwhile.

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