My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin:  XIII. Getting Acquainted

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”.


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About the Author

Daniel Weishut

Daniel WeishutDaniel J.N. Weishut, born in the Netherlands but living in Jerusalem, is a professional with a diverse background. He holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and an MBA in Integrative Business Administration, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a PsyD in Clinical and Organizational Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology (Sacramento). He has about thirty years of experience in consultation and therapy with a wide variety of clients and issues, more than twenty years of practice in group facilitation, and over fifteen years of know-how in governance and management in various organizations. Daniel Weishut offers his services as a "Partner on the Way", while taking a world-view that people are diverse but equal. He works with a variety of clients, but his special interest is in work with those who have found themselves persecuted or otherwise in conflict with their social environment, because of their culture, identity or belief system. For example: migrants, expats, refugees, Holocaust survivors, soldiers, pacifists, and individuals from religious, cultural or sexual minorities. Daniel Weishut is a social activist and in this capacity he volunteers as Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Group Psychotherapy, as Member of the Membership Appeals Committee of Amnesty International and as forensic expert for the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. He also is involved in raising awareness about the situation of Bedouins around Jerusalem; awareness which led among others to the writing of his dissertation "My friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: Challenges and opportunities in intercultural friendship".

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