My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: XIII. Getting Acquainted
Bashar’s full name is Bashar Mahmood Ward Abu Sahra. Bashar means “bringer of good news” (Bashar, 2012). Mahmood is the name of his grandfather from father’s side. Among the Palestinians there are many recurrent names, such as Ahmad, Mohammad and Mahmood, and as a consequence it is by and large not possible to identify someone by his first name only. Since in official Palestinian documents identification is often needed, one adds the grandfather’s name as a second name to solve the issue. Ward (the Arabic word for flower) is the name of his extended family. Abu Sahra is the name of his descent group, but is used in practice as the family name (See ). Commonly, Palestinian parents will be nicknamed after their first child. So Bashar, is infrequently called Abu Nimmer (“abu” means “father of”, and “Nimmer” is the name of his eldest son). His wife is Um Nimmer (“mother of Nimmer”). Nonetheless, Bashar goes mostly by the nickname of Abu Ward (“father of the Ward-family”), a name given to him in his childhood. Bashar explains that nicknaming a child “Abu ‘something’ ” is an indication of his relatively grownup behavior for his young age.
Upon meeting, Bedouins will not necessarily ask for one’s name. Among themselves they tend to be more interested in the name of one’s extended family than in one’s private name. The name of a foreigner is of less importance; he will be indicated in most cases in terms as “the friend of”, “the Dutch one” or – if unknown – “the foreigner”.