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why do bedouin wear black?

“As a young person, I could not understand why the Bedouin wore all these layers of black clothing while it was 49 °C with no shade, nor why their tents were black. I was staying in a British white canvas tent, wearing shorts and khakis. Then I realised that the Bedouin were protecting themselves from ultraviolet. They were also holding in their moisture. The average Bedouin lives on a litre of water a day; I was living on 19 litres a day.

“Their tents are made of goat hair and are very loosely woven. They are beautifully lit inside and, as the outside of the tent gets hot, it causes an updraught that sucks air through the loose weave. If you open the tent flaps, the air comes screaming in, even though there is no breeze. It's brilliant. If it rains, the goat fibres swell up and the tent gets tight as a drum. And, because it's black, the tent shows no dirt. And the factory that made the tent follows you around, eating anything you can't and converting any form of biomass into meat, butter, cheese, fur, leather and wool.”

22.03.2004

 


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