Peripatetics of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Sudan, and Yemen - Economy



Men and women of the different groups have different occupations. In Syria and Lebanon, the Juki used to work as fruit pickers. In Syria, the Suleyb worked as metalcrafters and as traders. In Iraq, the Karaj make sieves and baskets; the men work as bricklayers, smiths, grocers, and dentists. Many Nawar in Jordan work as professional musicians. In Egypt today, tinkering, the manufacture of rough iron implements for household or agricultural use, dealing in hides, the capture of snakes and scorpions, and music are male activities; women work as peddlers, selling cloth, shoes, and kitchen utensils. Both men and women work seasonally as sheep shearers, and women and older men also spin wool. Formerly, fortune-telling, acrobatics, tattooing, circumcising, and medicating were important sources of subsistence, but these are no longer practiced. Also on the wane is female dancing. In Sudan, the various communities engage in the following activities: men work as smiths, tinkers, grooms, farriers, and contractors for horse and donkey carts; they shear sheep and trade in horses, donkeys, and other farm animals. Both men and women peddle, tell fortunes, and circumcise and tattoo men and women, respectively; they also wash the dead and arrange for funerals. Women and children go begging, and women are also called in to pierce ears and noses. The communities mentioned in Yemen are minstrels and professionals musicians.

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