Rashidah, page 23
… being a foreign woman, as well as a photographer, staying in Muslim societies has given me access to the worlds of both the men and women. I’m often invited by the men to a cup of tea or a meal in their open living rooms; and just as well, allowed to be in the female quarters, where a male photographer would never be permitted.
But as I sit among this group of men, I know it is better to keep silent, and speak only when spoken to.
One of them passes me a tiny glass filled to the brim with the usual, over-sweetened tea. The other men talk quietly between themselves; as an Israeli, it gives me an extra advantage; as Arabic has several similarities to Hebrew. And along with the vocabulary I’ve picked up from different journeys to Egypt and other Middle-eastern countries, by now I am able to catch onto parts of their conversations.
This is the traditional forum where the majority of Bedouin social and business deals take place. It is also here that confidential matters of the community are discussed together with the sheikh, and a sheikh’s reputation is built over a period of time in his father’s tent. The men often visit one another for hours during the course of a day; their tea ceremonies, a daily pastime…”