Friday, April 04, 2008

Selfless Arab Hospitality

William Thesiger in his book Arabian Sands, that chronicles his amazing journey through the harsh Arabian Desert in the late 1940s, pens a wonderful insight into Arab hospitality. Before his group entered the interior of the desert they came across some tents and Thesiger writes of the welcome they received:

“Our hosts brought us [camel] milk. We blew the froth aside and drank deep; they urged us to drink more, saying, ‘You will find no milk in the sands ahead of you. Drink—drink. You are our guests. God brought you here—drink.’ I drank again, knowing even as I did so that they would go hungry and thirsty that night, for they had nothing else, no other food and no water.”

Source: Wilfred Thesiger, Arabian Sands (First published London: Longmans, Green and Co Ltd., 1959. The edition from which this excerpt has been quoted was published in Dubai: Motivate Publishing, 1994, 2006), 122.

A review of this book is posted at Reviewing Books and Movies.

A superb web gallery of photographs taken by Wilfred Thesiger can be found at:
Thesiger Galleries

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: ‘Thesiger’s Party in the Empty Quarter’ by Wilfred Thesiger. This is a sample of the photographs at the Thesiger Galleries.