The Al-Khalifa Family, page 71

Fadiyah’s veil disappears.

Her thin braid comes loose without effort on her stooped, wrinkled neck. She looks much older than her fifty years; the life in the desert and hard existence of Bedouin women, taking a hard toll on their lives.

A man can get nowhere without a woman, and most Bedouin women cannot be without a man. But the woman is not weak; her physical strength, another indication of her value as a woman.

It is seldom that the Bedouin husband will tell his wife where he is going… or when he is coming back. Nor will a wife ask. The comings and goings of a man are not considered the affair of the woman.

And so it seems; according to another Bedouin proverb,

“The braid must never go before the mustache.”

* * * *
Fadiyah’s daughter Jamilah, also wears her black hair in a long plait. She removes her long chiffon scarf, unravels her braid, whisking her fingers through her waist-long black hair.

Jamilah is an exquisite looking girl of 16. Of course, no man is allowed to see her like this.

I watch her stunning profile from my dark corner of the tent. Jamilah’s body is small, dark and delicate; her perfectly formed breasts peeking through her hair. It is her spirit, her youthful look of determination.

The perfect composition standing just before me… If only I could photograph her now.