They came to the oasis on a schedule. Here names were exchanged, but in whispers. The shape of their conversation was determined by custom. Good manners were paramount. And, so long as they remained at this place, men who were enemies behaved toward one another as brothers. Away from this place, meeting under the sun and in the open, they might well have slit one another's throat without a second thought.

The oasis is no more, of course; it was bulldozed in 1985 to make way for a mini mall. The Bedou come now only in response to television ads for white sales and close-outs. Good manners seem less important, and throat slitting is no longer confined to the outskirts -- proving, perhaps, that progress does not always move in a straight line.

Title | Contents | Index | Author
Bedou || The Confusion of Time | Oasis | Market at Basha | Veils
Intangible Frontlist