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Cluster index: Hilary Gilbert

Further notes from South Sinai.

Hilary Gilbert: ‘If a revival in tourism is to bring real benefits to Bedu, then, the authorities must take a new view of their value. Bedouin culture should be respected, not commodified for ersatz excursions. Security forces should recognize the Bedouin contribution to safeguarding Sinai and lift the ban on desert trips, so visitors can be offered hospitality in an actual Bedouin tent. Bedouin ecological expertise should be recognized; they should be consulted and involved in Sinai’s infrastructure developments.’

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The Bedouin of St Katherine.

Hilary Gilbert: One of the oldest monasteries in Christendom is guarded by a tribe of mistreated Arabs: ‘Bedu are barred from the Armed Forces. Education is poor or non-existent: 44 per cent of Bedouin adults have had no education at all, compared with 7 per cent of Egyptians, and professional Bedu are almost unknown. Many lack electricity and accessible water. With healthcare poor, unaffordable or absent, and a heavy-handed security presence, Bedu feel with good reason that their country is failing them.’

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