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Arab Nomads’ Wanton Waste Causes Deserts

Major C. S. Jarvis, who has been Governor of Sinai for twelve years, blames the Arab and his goat for desert wastes.

Lecturing before the Royal Central Asian Society here, Major Jarvis said it was a misnomer to describe the Arab as the “son of the desert,” declaring that he was really the “father of the desert.”

“By failing to repair the ordinary wear and tear caused by weather,” the speaker went on, “and wantonly destroying everything for which they could find no immediate use, the Arabs have allowed the country to slip back to the desolation from which a more virile race reclaimed it before their coming.

“In this campaign of destruction, the Arab has been assisted loyally by his two animals—the camel and the goat—both of which are vandals and Philistines of the first water.”

Major Jarvis referred to the Old Testament description of the goat as an evil beast—a leader in mighty wickedness. He held the goat and his companion in crime, the camel, responsible for “the invasion of sand that has spread all over northern Sinai.”

By eating out the heart of every living plant, he said, they had removed all the binding material provided by Nature for the stabilization of sand, and the accumulation of rapidly – moving dunes was the result.

Major Jarvis said that litigation was the Arab’s one joy in life.

“He may have other hobbies, but I have never discovered them,” he said, “and my experience is that lawsuits occupy his mind to the exclusion of all else. This is due partly to the fact that litigation costs nothing in the Sinai Arab Courts.

“If an Arab ever had to settle an English solicitor’s bill of costs for a trifling action, it would knock litigation on the head as far as he was concerned for all time.”

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