Friday, March 14, 2008

Wilfred Thesiger on the Desert

Wilfred Thesiger, explorer and writer about the desert penned these words in his book, Arabian Sands:

“In the deserts of southern Arabia there is no rhythm of the seasons, no rise and fall of the sap, but empty wastes where only the changing temperature marks the passage of the years.”

“It is a bitter, desiccated land which knows nothing of gentleness or ease. Yet people have lived there since earliest times…. People live there because it is the world into which they were born, the life they lead is the life their forefathers led before them; they accept hardships and privations; they know no other way…”

“No one can live this life and emerge unchanged…For this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match.”

Wilfred Thesiger, Arabian Sands (First published London: Longmans, Green and Co Ltd., 1959; Dubai: Motivate Publishing, 1994, 2006), 17.

Thesiger’s book has been turned into a film by Emirati director and producer Majid Abdulrazak and the film is reviewed in Gulf News by Manjusha Radhakrishnan in an article entitled Thesiger’s Tale, 13 March 2008.

Dr. Geoff Pound

Image: Thesiger’s party in the Empty Quarter, Saudi Arabia. This photo is from the web gallery of photographs taken by Wilfred Thesiger and can be found at: Thesiger Galleries