National Geographic : 2009 Mar
• I spoke with a tiny, elderly Bedouin woman named Sheikha Salima, who estimated her age as 70 or 80, maybe more. She looks back on the peninsula s alternating conquerors much as she does the alternating striations in the cli s sur- rounding her goat-hair tent: ey merely mark the ckle passage of time. "It was better when the Israelis were here," she said, shaking a bead- strung st in de ance, not at an abstract Cairene power but at the junior police o cer just a few feet away. " ey have destroyed our customs," she shouted with the bravery of untouchable old age. Her veil uttered before her pu ed breath. " ey have pushed us from our land." Her well was almost dry, and goat droppings carpeted the oor of her home. In the old, migra- tory days she might have moved on during the di cult season. Now she had nowhere to go. The policeman shrank from the Bedouin woman s wrath. He understood what she meant about the land. And he knew too well just how explosive such anger could prove. Egyptians have never embraced desert-dwelling tribes. Nile culture is agrarian, suspicious of nomadic wandering.