We invite you to enjoy part 10 of the 12 part Distant Arabia video series. The majority of the film clips are comprised of films taken in Saudi Arabia between 1937 and 1940 by Tom Barger, Les Snyder and Jerry Harriss. They are among the few moving pictures that record that critical and brief moment in the country's history when an ancient pastoral way of life was coming to an abrupt end, to be replaced by an industrial society. Many of the Bedouin depicted had never seen an automobile let alone a movie camera before these men arrived. The herds of camels, once the lifeblood of Bedouin life, would become irrelevant. The dhows of the Gulf replaced by motor launches, the date oases, the very anchor of the Al Hasa economy, would become all but insignificant. All that remains of those days are these flickering images from a time before oil.

Distant Arabia part 10 - Authentic Whirling Dervishes Filmed by Aramco Brat and Aramcon Doug Webb at the ancient Sufi school in Aleppo, Syria during a visit in the mid-80s, this video is a crowd-pleaser. The dervishes dance to a drum accompaniment that is centuries old. At 0:14 one of the drummers leans over to heat his drum skin over a brazier, at 0:42 the dance master gestures encouragement to the central dancer.  Many viewers have difficulty watching these dancers without getting dizzy.

More Stories – Tim Barger
ISBN: 978-0988205017
246 pages, $14.95

part 9 part 11