A couple of days ago my friend Mahmoud abu Jarabeya, who built the straw bale mosque in Wadi al-Na’am, got married. It was the first Bedouin wedding I’ve been to.
There was one long tent, divided in half, one for the men, one for the women, and rows of carpets and cushions to lean on. The women had dancing, singing, music, and general wedding festivities. We had a stern-looking mullah give a sermon on the blessing of marriage and the dangers of watching Turkish soap operas. No, seriously.
We sat and talked until a huge procession of men carrying plates of mansaf arrived, plunked them down in front of every third person, we huddled up and started eating, left hand behind the back, right hand acting as a scoop.
This little dude sat next to me, and told me all about the different types of scary movies he had seen in his 8-year-old life. “They are alive but look like dead people and you can’t kill them easily,” he said. I thought for a minute and then said, “Zombies!”
The only other white guy there was sitting a few dudes down from me (top left corner of the picture). We gave each other the “what-are-you-doing-here” stare and I asked my friend Suleiman who was sitting next to me who he was. He looked over and turned back to me, saying “Dudik Shoshani.” The former director of the “Authority for the Advancement of the Bedouin,” the government agency charged with dealing with the Bedouin. Arguably one of the most influential individuals in Israel when it comes to dealing with the Unrecognized Villages. We spoke for a bit, in Arabic. He speaks well.