With 7.2 billion people living on this planet, bifurcated by countries, religion they follow and the festivals they celebrate, there are several unique things about each religion or caste. Throwing Cinnamon on single people in Denmark, competitive wife carrying in Finland, smacking a woman with a whip at Easter in Czech Republic or marrying a girl to an animal in India are varied customs and part of beliefs every religion across the world have. However, we steadily unwrap the world finding the deeply enclosed facts and happenings. There are some tribes which stands extremely reverse to what most of the religions follow today. One such mysterious tribe is Tuareg, of the Sahara Desert.
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The Tuareg Tribe
Unlike the women across major number of countries, Tuareg Women can have more than one sexual partners outside their marriage. If divorced, they are allowed to keep the husband’s entire property and continue their life. They are highly revered by their son-in-laws, that they never dare to eat in the same room.
Although the tribe has embraced Islam as their religion, they follow customs which no Islamic country would ever follow. For instance, women in Islam cover their faces. However, it is the other way round here. It is Men, who cover their faces in the Tuareg tribe!
Henrietta Butler, a photographer who has covered the information on Tuareg once asked about the unique laws and what she gets to hear is appreciating : ‘The women are beautiful. We would like to see their faces.’
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Women can have affairs before marriage
The women does not limit here standing out tall, they differ in many aspects from the Muslim world of Middle-East and other parts. The Tuareg Women can take as many as lovers she wants before her marriage. The girls of the tribe have same freedom as the boys. Since years, Tuareg men ride their camels to women’s tent and sneak in at night. The family, who also live in the tent pretends as if nothing is happening, respecting the privacy. It doesn’t surprises the tribe/family if the young woman chooses different man the next night. Respecting one’s privacy is a code of practise nobody dares to break it.
To this tribe of nomads, who once crossed the Sahara trading dates, salts and saffron to the South and slaves and gold to the north, believes the code and breaking it would be abashing. That is the reason men comes into the tent when it is night and leaves at dawn.
‘The Tuareg are utterly discreet. Everything is done with utmost discretion and respect,’ said Butler. Due to their loose ends in terms of having multiple sexual partners, the girls are now getting married in their 20’s which wasn’t usual. Before getting into a relationship both men and women pen down romantic poetry for each other, trying to woo and win their beloved one.
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Divorce and Tuareg Women rights
Normally, marriages end in divorces here wherein the women gets to keep all the property, children and animals. The wife decides when she has to say, “I have had enough”. Men usually keep their highly trained camel and they return back to their mothers. The tribe feels there is no shame in divorce, mothers of this tribe throws divorce parties for their daughters letting the young men know that she is available again.
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Follow Matrilineal system
Though not matriarchal, the tribe is matrilineal, the families trace their lines through the women, not men, right the way back to their first queen. To the tribe, sister’s son is considered as strongest link to the family than their own son. This specifies that their sister’s child belongs to her, rather than a man’s son as it is not sure they share the same genes.
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Mother – Root of the Community
Adding more distinctive Butler says, “The mother’s camp, is the root of the community, the home everyone returns to, and this arrangement ensures it stays that way”. However, it is not the matriarchal society where women are in-charge. Men are involved in politics and business but they make sure they take the women point of view which they respect to the core. It is also believed that men is highly rude and disrespectful if he dares to eat food in front of woman who he cannot have sexual relationship with.
‘You would shame yourself. The Tuareg will go to great lengths to maintain personal dignity. They will suffer,’ said Butler. ‘If they are not offered water, they won’t ask for it even if they are thirsty.’ Perhaps this is the reason Tuareg tribes welcome is noteworthy. They never forget to offer water to the travelers and treat them like a king. This beautiful tribe now living in south-western Libya face a new threat that of ISIS while those living in Mali, Niger and northern Nigeria now have to fear the rise of Boko Haram.
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