The Bedouin Camel Driver – Beirut (circa 1910)

“Camel Driver” is not an exact translation of “chamelier”; it might be better to say, “camel man”, as in the English word, “horseman”.

I found this postcard in a bin of old paper and picked it up because it is a reminder of how ancient cultures survive.

There are still Bedouin camel drivers in Egypt and across the Arabian peninsula, although the boundaries of new nations and the rapid modernization of the 20th century has constrained these nomadic people.

The postcard was printed in Beirut, which was once a lively center of literary and cultural activity; the printed text is all in French.

The photograph is printed, without coloration, on a paper that is darker than the usual sepia-toned stock.

One would like to see a sharper print that would reveal more details.

Before World War I, the Ottoman Empire and the European colonial powers preserved an uneasy peace across much of the Near East.

It was not a good time for democratic government and self-determination, but it did facilitate ease of travel through these ancient cultures.

The postcard was printed, most likely, for the tourist trade.


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