Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Why did the goat cross the road?

Hisham Muhammad owns 60 goats which he moves from Aramoun (Beirut suburb) in the winter to Dahr el Baidar (Mount Lebanon) in the winter. He told Al-Akhbar's reporter: "I have inherited this trade from my forefathers, and it used to provide us in the past with a decent livelihood. But today, our problems have increased, and we are experiencing an economic crisis. Life has changed, and these changes have driven us into situations in which we do not recognize ourselves anymore. Even our animals have changed, their diseases have increased and their productivity has changed. The land has changed and the economic situation has become more difficult. My forefathers used to move freely between the mountain and the coast with the change in seasons, and the flocks used to cross on land through the valley passages and the narrow roads. But today, we cannot even cross the roads anymore for fear of losing some of our goats."

A nice piece from Al-Akhbar on the last semi-nomadic Bedouin goat herdsmen of Lebanon and the difficulties they face in "modern" Lebanon. Pollution, decrease in demand for goat milk, access to land, children schooling, and a shorter winter season.

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