Tuaregs, Their History and Their Harsh Saharan Environment

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Tuareg depicted in an 1812 French book

The Tuaregs are the prenominate ethnic group in the northern Sahel and southern Sahara desert in Niger, Mali, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Chad, Senegal and Burkina Faso. Decedents of Berber tribes pushed south by Arab invaders from their Mediterranean homelands a thousand years ago, they are a tall, proud, olive-skinned people regarded as the best cameleers in the world, the best herdsmen of the desert and the best caravaneers in the Sahara. [Source: Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher, National Geographic, February, 1998; Victor Englebert, National Geographic, April 1974 and November 1965; Stephen Buckley, Washington Post]

The Tuareg have traditionally been desert nomads who made their living by leading salt caravans, herding cattle, ambushing other caravans and rustling camels and cattle. They keep camels, goats, and sheep. In the old days, they occasionally settled briefly to raise crops like sorghum and millet. In recent decades, drought and restrictions on their traditional way of life have forced them more and more into a sedentary semi-agricultural lifestyle.

Paul Richard wrote in the Washington Post: “They don't just walk up and say hi. The Tuareg of northeastern Africa present an apparition. Suddenly you see: a billowy and shimmery intimidating vision; ripplings of cloth; glints of bladed weapons, slender leaf-thin spears, silver-studded daggers; calmly watching eyes. What you don't see is whole faces. Among the Tuareg it's the men, not the women, who go veiled. Hardened Tuareg warriors, knowing with precision how fabulous they look, arise out of the desert on their tall, swift cloud-white camels looking arrogant and elegant and dangerous and blue. [Source: Paul Richard, Washington Post, November 4, 2007]

Tuareg areas

About 1 million Tuaregs live in Niger. Concentrated primarily in a long strip of land running from the Mali frontier in the west to Gouré in the east, they speak a language called Tamashek, have a written language called Tifinar and are organized into confederations of clans that have nothing to with the political boundaries of the Saharan nations. The major confederations are the Kel Aïr (who reside around the Aïr Mountains), the Kel Gregg (who inhabit the Madaoua and Konni regions), the Iwilli-Minden (who live in the Azawae region), and the Immouzourak and the Ahaggar.

The Tuaregs and Moors generally have lighter skin than sub-Saharan Africans and darker skin than Berbers. Many Moors in Mauritania, Tuaregs of Mali and Niger, Berbers of Morocco and North Africa, have Arab blood. Most are herdsmen, who have traditionally camped in tents, and traveled across the desert with camels, and spent their lives searching for grass to feed their flocks of goats and sheep. Camels, goats and sheep furnished meat, milk, hides, skins, tents, carpets, cushions and saddles. At oases, settled villagers raised date palms, and fields of millet, wheat, yams, and a few other crops. [Source: "The Villagers" by Richard Critchfield, Anchor Books]

Book: “Wind, Sand and Silence: Travel's With Africa's Last Nomads” by Victor Englebert (Chronicle Books). It covers the Tuareg, the Bororo of Niger, the Danaki of Ethiopia and Djibouti, the Turkana of Kenya.

Websites and Resources: Islam Islam.com islam.com ; Islamic City islamicity.com ; Islam 101 islam101.net ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Religious Tolerance religioustolerance.org/islam ; BBC article bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam ; Patheos Library – Islam patheos.com/Library/Islam ; University of Southern California Compendium of Muslim Texts web.archive.org ; Encyclopædia Britannica article on Islam britannica.com ; Islam at Project Gutenberg gutenberg.org ; Islam from UCB Libraries GovPubs web.archive.org ; Muslims: PBS Frontline documentary pbs.org frontline ; Discover Islam dislam.org ;

Islamic History: Islamic History Resources uga.edu/islam/history ; Internet Islamic History Sourcebook fordham.edu/halsall/islam/islamsbook ; Islamic History friesian.com/islam ; Islamic Civilization cyberistan.org ; Muslim Heritage muslimheritage.com ; Brief history of Islam barkati.net ; Chronological history of Islam barkati.net;

Shias, Sufis and Muslim Sects and Schools Divisions in Islam archive.org ; Four Sunni Schools of Thought masud.co.uk ; Wikipedia article on Shia Islam Wikipedia Shafaqna: International Shia News Agency shafaqna.com ; Roshd.org, a Shia Website roshd.org/eng ; The Shiapedia, an online Shia encyclopedia web.archive.org ; shiasource.com ; Imam Al-Khoei Foundation (Twelver) al-khoei.org ; Official Website of Nizari Ismaili (Ismaili) the.ismaili ; Official Website of Alavi Bohra (Ismaili) alavibohra.org ; The Institute of Ismaili Studies (Ismaili) web.archive.org ; Wikipedia article on Sufism Wikipedia ; Sufism in the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World oxfordislamicstudies.com ; Sufism, Sufis, and Sufi Orders – Sufism's Many Paths islam.uga.edu/Sufism ; Afterhours Sufism Stories inspirationalstories.com/sufism ; Risala Roohi Sharif, translations (English and Urdu) of "The Book of Soul", by Hazrat Sultan Bahu, a 17th century Sufi risala-roohi.tripod.com ; The Spiritual Life in Islam:Sufism thewaytotruth.org/sufism ; Sufism - an Inquiry sufismjournal.org

Tuareg History

The Tuareg and the Moors of North Africa both descended from the Berbers, an ancient white skinned race originally from the African Mediterranean. According to Herodotus, the Tuareg lived in northern Mali in fifth century B.C. The Tuareg have married mostly among themselves and clung fiercely to their ancient Berber traditions, while the Berbers intermingled with Arabs and blacks. "The resulting Moorish culture," wrote Angela Ficher, "is one of color and flamboyance, as reflected in the style of dress, jewelry, and body decorations." [Source: "Africa Adorned" by Angela Ficher, November 1984]

legendary ancient Tuareg queen, Tin Hinan

After establishing the city of Timbuktu in the 11th century, the Tuareg traded, traveled, and conquered throughout the Sahara over the next four centuries, eventually converting to Islam in the 14th century, which allowed them to “gain great wealth trading salt, gold, and black slaves.” Known for their courageous warrior, the Tuareg resisted French, Arab and African incursions into the their territory. It is hard to consider them subdued even today.

When the French colonized Mali they “defeated the Tuareg at Timbuktu and established borders and administrative districts to rule the area until Mali declared independence in 1960.”
Major resistance efforts were launched by the Tuareg against the French between 1916 and 1919.

After the end of colonial rule the Tuareg were divided among several independent states, often led by military regimes that were hostile towards the Tuareg and the other nations where the Tuareg lived. Without the freedom to freely more to faraway water holes as many as 125,000 of the one million Tuareg starved to death in the prolonged drought of the 1970s.

Tuareg Uprisings

Out of frustration, Tuareg insurgents have attacked government forces in Mali and Niger and taken hostages which in turn have provoked bloody reprisals on hundreds of Tuareg civilians by the armies of these governments. The Tuaregs failed in their rebellion against the Niger government.

Devon Douglas-Bowers of Global Research wrote: “The Tuareg people have consistently wanted self-independence and in pursuit of such goals have engaged in a number of rebellions. The first was in 1916 when, in response to the French not giving the Tuareg their own autonomous zone (called Azawad) as was promised, they revolted. The French violently quelled the revolt and “subsequently confiscated important grazing lands while using Tuaregs as forced conscripts and labor – and fragmented Tuareg societies through the drawing of arbitrary boundaries between Soudan [Mali] and its neighbors.” [Source: Devon Douglas-Bowers, Global Research, February 1, 2013 /+/]

“Yet, this did not end the Tuareg goal of an independent, sovereign state. Once the French had ceded Mali independence, the Tuareg began to push toward their dream of establishing Azawad once again with “several prominent Tuareg leaders lobbying for a separate Tuareg homeland consisting of northern Mali and parts of modern day Algeria, Niger, Mauritania. However, black politicians like Modibo Keita, Mali’s first President, made it clear that independent Mali would not cede its northern territories.”

First Tuareg Rebellion

Tuaregs clashed with the Mali government in the 1960s. Many fled to Niger. Devon Douglas-Bowers of Global Research wrote: “In the 1960s, while the independence movements in Africa were ongoing, the Tuareg once again vied for their own autonomy, known as the Afellaga rebellion. The Tuareg were greatly oppressed by the government of Modibo Keita, which came into power after the French had left, as they “were singled out for particular discrimination, and were more neglected than others in the distribution of state benefits,” which may have been due to the fact that “most of the senior leadership of post-colonial Mali were drawn from the southern ethnic groups who were not sympathetic to the pastoral culture of the northern desert nomads.” [Source: Devon Douglas-Bowers, Global Research, February 1, 2013 /+/]

Tuareg in Mali in 1974

“In addition to this, the Tuareg felt that the government’s policy of ‘modernization’ was in reality an attack on the Tuareg themselves as the Keita government enacted policies such as “land reform that threatened [the Tuareg’s] privileged access to agricultural products.” Specifically, Keita “had moved increasingly in the direction of [establishing a version of] the Soviet collective farm and had created state corporations to monopolize the purchase of basic crops.” /+/

In addition to this, Keita left customary land rights unchanged “except when the state needed land for industry or transport. Then the Minister of Rural Economy issued a decree of acquisition and registration in the name of the state, but only after publication of notice and a hearing to determine customary claims.” Unfortunately for the Tuareg, this unchanging of customary land rights did not apply to the subsoil that was on their land. Instead, this subsoil was turned into a state monopoly due to Keita’s desire to ensure that no one became a capitalist based on the discovery of subsoil resources. /+/

“This had a major negative impact on the Tuareg as they had a pastoral culture and the subsoil helps to “determine what kind of crops can be grown in any area and, therefore, what livestock can be raised.” Thus, by creating a state monopoly on subsoil, the Keita government was effectively in control of what the Tuareg would be able to grow and therefore in control of their very lives. /+/

“This oppression eventually boiled over and became the first Tuareg rebellion, which began with small hit-and-run attacks on government forces. However, it was quickly crushed due to the Tuareg lacking “a unified leadership, a well-coordinated strategy or clear evidence of a coherent strategic vision.” In addition to this, the rebels were unable to mobilize the entire Tuareg community. /+/

“The Malian military, well-motivated and [well-equipped] with new Soviet weapons, conducted vigorous counterinsurgency operations. By the end of 1964, the government’s strong arm methods had crushed the rebellion. It then placed the Tuareg-populated northern regions under a repressive military administration. Yet while the Malian military may have won the battle, they failed to win the war as their heavy-handed tactics only alienated Tuareg who didn’t support the insurgency and not only did the government fail to follow through on promises to improve the local infrastructure and increase economic opportunity. To avoid the military occupation of their communities and also due to massive drought in the 1980s, many Tuareg fled to nearby countries such as Algeria, Mauritania, and Libya. Thus, the grievances of the Tuareg went unaddressed, only creating a situation in which a rebellion would once again occur.” /+/

Second Tuareg Rebellion

Tuareg rebels in 2012

The return to Mali of large numbers of Tuareg who had migrated to Algeria and Libya during a prolonged drought increased tensions in the region between the nomadic Tuareg and the sedentary population. Ostensibly fearing a Tuareg secessionist movement in the north, the Traoré regime imposed a state of emergency and harshly repressed Tuareg unrest.

In 1990, a small group of Libyan-trained Tuareg separatists started a small revolt in northen Mali. The government brutally cracked down on the movement and this helped rebels attract new recruits. Later the Tuareg staged a raid to free prisoners that resulted in the death of hundreds of people. Gao was attacked and people thought it was the first step in all-out civil war.

The conflict had its origins in traditional divisions and dislike between black sub-Saharan Africans and lighter-skinned Arab-influenced Tuaregs and Moors, who used to keep (and continue to keep in some remote places) keep black Africans as slaves.

Devon Douglas-Bowers of Global Research wrote: “The raging inferno that was the spirit of independence of the Tuareg people once again came back to life in 1990. It must be noted that Tuareg had greatly changed since the 1960s and moved from a socialist government to a military dictatorship that (due to massive pressure from the people) quickly changed to a transitional government with military and civilian leaders, finally fully becoming democratic in 1992. [Source: Devon Douglas-Bowers, Global Research, February 1, 2013 /+/]

“While Mali was transitioning to a democracy, the Tuareg people were still suffering under the boot of oppression. Three decades after the first rebellion, the occupation of Tuareg communities still had not ended and “resentment fueled by the harsh repression, continued dissatisfaction with government policies, and perceived exclusion from political power led various Tuareg and Arab groups to begin a second rebellion against the Malian government.” The second rebellion was sparked due to “attacks on non-Tuareg Malians [at] the southernmost edge of the Tuareg regions [which led to] skirmishes between the Malian army and Tuareg rebels.” /+/

“It did not last long as the first major step to peace was made in 1991 by the transitional government and resulted in the Tamanrasset Accords, which was negotiated in Algeria between the military government of Lt. Colonel Amadou Toumani Touré (that had taken power in a coup on March 26, 1991) and the two major Tuareg factions, The Azaouad Popular Movement and the Arabic Islamic Front of Azawad, on January 6, 1991. In the Accords, the Malian military agreed to “disengage from the running of the civil administration and will proceed to the suppression of certain military posts,” “avoid zones of pasture land and densely populated zones,” to be “confined to their role of defense of the integrity of the territory at the frontiers,” and created a ceasefire between the two main Tuareg factions and the government.” /+/

The situation was eventually defused when the government realized it didn’t have the muscle or the will for a prolonged desert conflict. Negotiations with the rebels were held and the Tuaregs were granted certain concessions such as removing government troops from their territory and giving them more autonomy. Despite the signing of a peace accord in January 1991, unrest and periodic armed clashes continued.

Second Tuareg Rebellion Continues After Peace Accord

Many Tuaregs were not satisfied with the agreement. Devon Douglas-Bowers of Global Research wrote: “Not all of the Tuareg factions signed onto the Accords as many rebel groups demanded “among other concessions, the removal of current administrators in the north and their replacement with local representatives.” The Accords represented a political compromise in which more autonomy was granted to Tuareg communities and local and regional councils made up of local representatives were established, yet the Tuareg still remained a part of Mali. Thus, the Accords were not the end all be all of the situation as tensions remained between the Tuareg and the Malian government. [Source: Devon Douglas-Bowers, Global Research, February 1, 2013 /+/]

“The transitionary government of Mali attempted to negotiate with the Tuareg. This culminated in the April 1992 National Pact between the Malian government and several Tuareg factions. The National Pact allowed for “integration of Tuareg combatants into the Malian armed forces, demilitarization of the north, economic integration of northern populations, and a more detailed special administrative structure for the three northern regions.” After Alpha Konaré was elected president of Mali in 1992, he furthered the process of Tuareg autonomy by not only honoring the concessions made in the National Pact but by removing the structure of federal and regional governments and allowing authority to take hold at the local level. Yet, decentralization had a greater political purpose, as it “effectively co-opted the Tuareg by allowing them a degree of autonomy and the benefits of remaining in the Republic.”“ However, this attempt to deal with the Tuareg did not hold as the National Pact only renewed debate about the unique status of Tuareg people and some rebel groups, such as the Arabic Islamic Front of Azawad, did not attend the National Pact talks and the violence continued.

Rebels staged hit-and-run raids in Timbuktu, Gao and other settlements on the edge of the desert. Bordering on the edge of civil war, the conflict continued for five years and absorbed Tuareg conflicts in Niger and Mauritania. Over 100,000 Tuaregs were forced to flee to Algeria, Burkina Faso and Mauritania and predominately black soldiers were accused by human rights groups of scorching Tuareg camps and poisoning their wells. An estimated 6,000 to 8,000 people were killed before an peace agreement was signed by all factions. A truce was declared in March 1996 and Tuareg once again were back at the markets in Timbuktu.

Third Tuareg Rebellion and Terrorism

Devon Douglas-Bowers of Global Research wrote: “The third rebellion was not so much a rebellion, but rather an insurgency that kidnapped and killed members of the Malian military. The insurgency began in May 2006, when “a group of Tuareg army deserters attacked military barracks in Kidal region, seizing weapons and demanding greater autonomy and development assistance.” [Source: Devon Douglas-Bowers, Global Research, February 1, 2013 /+/]

The former general Amadou Toumani Toure had won presidential elections in 2002 and reacted to the violence by working with a rebel coalition known as the Democratic Alliance for Change to establish a peace agreement that solely restated that Malian government’s commitment to improving the economy in the northern areas where the rebels lived. However, many rebels such as Ibrahim Ag Bahanga, who was killed just last year, refused to abide by the peace treaty and continued to terrorize the Malian military until the government of Mali deployed a large offensive force to eliminate the insurgency.

There have been reports of Al Qaeda members within the ranks of the Tuareg rebels in Mali “It must be noted that the introduction the Arabic Islamic Front of Azawad to the Tuareg rebellion is also the introduction of radical Islam to the Tuareg fight for independence. The emergence of radical Islam was greatly aided by the Gaddafi regime. During the 1970s many Tuareg had fled to Libya and other countries, mainly for economic opportunity. Once there, Gaddafi “welcomed them with open arms. He gave them food and shelter. He called them brothers. He also started training them as soldiers.” Gaddafi then used these soldiers to found the Islamic Legion in 1972. The goal of the Legion was to “further [Gaddafi’s own] territorial ambitions in the African interior and advance the cause of Arab supremacy.” The Legion was sent to fight the in Niger, Mali, Palestine, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. However, the Legion came to an end due to the price of oil declining in 1985, which meant that Gaddafi could no longer afford to recruit and train fighters. Coupled with the Legion’s crushing defeat in Chad, the organization was disbanded which left many Tuareg going back to their homes in Mali with large amounts of combat experience. The role of Libya played a role not only in the third Tuareg rebellion, but also in the current, ongoing fighting. /+/]

Tuareg Religion and Language

Tuaregy praying

According to some historians, "Tuareg" means "the abandonders," a reference to the fact they abandoned their religion. Most Tuaregs are Muslims, but they are regarded by other Muslims as not being very serious about Islam. Some Tuareg are devout Muslims who pray towards Mecca five times a day, but they appear to be the exception not the rule.

“Marabouts” (Muslim holy men) perform duties like giving names to children and presiding over name-giving ceremonies in which the throat of a camel is slit, the name of the child is announced, his or her head is shaved, and the marbaout and women are given the leg of the camel.

Animist beliefs persist. When a baby is born, for example, two knives are planted in the ground near the infant’s head to protect the baby and her mother from demons.

“gris gris”

Paul Richard wrote in the Washington Post: “The Tuareg's written language, Tifnar, also points one toward antiquity. Modern is what it isn't. Tifnar can be written vertically or horizontally, and from left to right or from right to left. Its script is composed of lines and dots and circles. Its characters are shared with the cuneiforms of Babylon and the alphabet of the Phoenicians.”

Tuareg Society and Slaves

Tuareg have traditionally lived in a highly-stratified feudal society, with “imaharen “(nobles) and clergy men at the top, vassals, caravaneers, herders and artisans in the middle, and laborers, servants and “iklan” (members of the former slave caste) at the bottom. Feudalism and slavery survive in various forms. Vassals of the imaharen still pay tribute even thought by law they are no longer required to do so.

Paul Richard wrote in the Washington Post: “Tuareg nobles rule by right. Commanding is their duty, as is guarding family honor — always showing, through their bearing, proper dignity and reserve. Unlike the inadan beneath them, they don't soil themselves with soot, or muck about with blacksmithing, or produce things to use. [Source: Paul Richard, Washington Post, November 4, 2007]

a bella, member of a traditional Tuareg slave caste

"The blacksmith," observed one Tuareg informant in the 1940s, "is always a born traitor; he's fit to do anything. . . . His mendacity is proverbial; moreover it would be dangerous to offend him, for he is skillful at satire and if need be will spout couplets of his own devising about anyone who brushes him off; thus, no one wishes to risk his taunts. In return for this, no one is as ill-esteemed as the blacksmith."

The Tuaregs live side by side with the black African tribes such as the Bella Some Tuaregs are darker than others, a sign of intermarriage with Arabs and Africans.

“Iklan” are black Africans that often can be found with Tuaregs. "Iklan" means slave in Tamahaq but they are not slaves in the Western sense, Although they are owned and sometimes captured. They are never bought and sold. The Iklan are more like a servant class that have a symbiotic relationship with the Tuareg. Also known as Bellas, they have largely been integrated into the Tuareg tribes, and now are simply seen as inferior beings of a low servant caste rather than slaves.

Tuareg's consider it very rude to complain. They get great pleasure from teasing one another.
Tuaregs are reportedly kind to friends and cruel to enemies. According to one Tuareg proverb you "kiss the hand you cannot severe."

Tuareg Men and Women

In contrast to other Muslims, Tuareg men not women wear veils. Men traditionally take part in caravans. When a boy reaches three months he is presented with a sword; when a girl reaches the same age her hair is ceremoniously braided. Paul Richard wrote in the Washington Post: “Most Tuareg men are lean. Their movements, by intent, suggest both elegance and arrogance. Their leanness isn't seen as much as it's suggested by the way their loose and flowing robes move about their limbs.

Tuareg women can marry who they please and inherit property. They are regarded as tough, independent, open and friendly. Women traditionally gave birth in their tents. Some women give birth by themselves alone in the desert. Tuareg men reportedly like their women fat.

Women are held in high esteem. They play musical instruments, keep part of the family’s wealth in their jewelry, are consulted on important maters, take care of the household and make decisions while their husbands were on cattle raids or caravans. As for chores, women pound millet, take care of the children and tend sheep and goats. Girls begin taking care of the family's goats and sheep at a relatively young age.

Tuareg and Drought

The Tuaregs suffered greatly in the Sahel droughts of the 1970s and 80s. Families were split up. Dead camels lined the caravan routes. People walked for days without food. Nomads lost all their animals and were forced to live on handouts of grain and powered milk. Many became refugees and went to the cities looking for jobs and were forced to give up their nomadic life forever. Some committed suicide; other went insane.

Upper class Tuareg bought Land Rover and nice houses while ordinary Tuareg went to refugee camps. One Tuareg tribesman told National Geographic, "We used to fish, grow crops, have animals, and prosper. Now it’s a country of thirst." A Tuareg nomad force into a refugee camp by the 1973 drought told National Geographic, "Seeding, planting, harvesting—how wonderful. What do I know about seed and soil? All I know is camels and cattle. All I want is my animals back."

During the droughts of 1983-84, Moors and Tuaregs lost half their herds. Bleached bones and mummified corpses were scattered on the road sides. Thousand of cattle fought for a drink at remaining water holes. "Even vultures have fled," one tribesman said. Children dug up anthills for food. [Source: "The Villagers" by Richard Critchfield, Anchor Books]

Tuaregs, the Modern World and Poverty

Modern advancements for the Tuareg have included plastic tents and water bags made from inner tubes rather than goatskins. When Tuaregs are given houses they often use the dwellings for warehouses and live in tents pitched in the courtyards.

Many Tuaregs live near towns and trade goat cheese for sugar, tea, tobacco and other goods. Some have taken up hunting tourists to buy knives and jewelry to survive. They set up to their tents on the outskirts of towns and when they've collected enough money they return to the desert. Some Tuaregs are employed as laborers in the mining area of the Aïr Mountains. Some Tuaregs work at the Niger uranium mine. Mining in the Aïr Mountains has displaced many Tuaregs.

There are Tuaregs living north of Timbuktu who, as of the early 2000s, had never used a telephone or toilet, seen a television or newspaper, or heard of a computer or an American dollar. One Tuareg nomad told the Washington Post, "My father was a nomad, I am a nomad, my children will be nomads. This is the life of my ancestors. This the life that we know. We like it." The man’s 15-year-old son said, "I enjoy my life. I like taking care of camels. I don't know the world. The world is where I am."

The Tuareg are among the poorest people in the world. Many don't have access to education or descent health care and they say the don't care. The Tuaregs are considerably poorer than they used to be. Special areas have been set up by aid workers to supply them with enough food and water for themselves and their animals.

Lakes and grazing land used by the Tuareg continue to shrink, squeezing the Tuareg onto smaller and smaller parcels of land. Some lakes in Mali have lost 80 percent to a 100 percent of their water. There are special relief agencies that work with the Tuaregs and help them if their animals die. They generally receive more help from the United Nations than they do from the governments of Mali, Niger or other countries, where they live.

flooded Tuareg refugee camp

Paul Richard wrote in the Washington Post: “In an age of cars and cellphones and industrial production, how can such a culture, so old and proud and idiosyncratic, manage to survive? Not easily at all... Nationalistic governments (in Niger in particular) have in recent decades slaughtered Tuareg fighters and quashed Tuareg rebellions. Drought in the Sahel has decimated camel herds. The caravans of animals that move across the desert are shamefully slower than the flashing race cars of the Paris-Dakar rally. The money spent by Hermes on Tuareg belt buckles and purse clasps tends to flow into the pockets of the metalsmiths who make such things, thus embarrassing their betters. [Source: Paul Richard, Washington Post, November 4, 2007]

Image Sources: Wikimedia, Commons

Text Sources: Internet Islamic History Sourcebook: sourcebooks.fordham.edu “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “ Arab News, Jeddah; “Islam, a Short History” by Karen Armstrong; “A History of the Arab Peoples” by Albert Hourani (Faber and Faber, 1991); “Encyclopedia of the World Cultures” edited by David Levinson (G.K. Hall & Company, New York, 1994). “Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, The Guardian, BBC, Al Jazeera, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated September 2018

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