We invite you to enjoy part 7 of the 12 part Distant Arabia video series. The majority of the film clips posted are comprised of films taken in Saudi Arabia between 1937 and 1940 by Tom Barger, Les Snyder and Jerry Harriss. They are among the few moving pictures that record that critical and brief moment in the country's history when an ancient pastoral way of life was coming to an abrupt end, to be replaced by an industrial society. Many of the Bedouin depicted had never seen an automobile let alone a movie camera before these men arrived. The herds of camels, once the lifeblood of Bedouin life, would become irrelevant. The dhows of the Gulf replaced by motor launches, the date oases, the very anchor of the Al Hasa economy, would become all but insignificant. All that remains of those days are these flickering images from a time before oil.

Distant Arabia part 7 - Jeddah 1953 and to the Iraqi Border with King Saud Produced from film shot by Aramcon George Mandis, this video opens with scenes of a Jeddah that would be all but unrecognizable to residents of the city today if for no other reason than the virtual lack of automobile traffic. At 1:19 the scene shifts to the Iraqi border on the occasion of King Saud’s coronation visit to the northern tribes. The King is seated at 1:35 as the festivities begin with an enthusiastic sword dance. At 2:19 there is a virtuoso performance by one dancer and at 2:30 the dancers get so carried away that they get entangled in the tent ropes.

More Stories – Tim Barger
ISBN: 978-0988205017
246 pages, $14.95

part 6 part 8