Archives for posts with tag: iranians

(note: i’ll post the punch line to the do you think like a westerner? post tomorrow…or maybe tuesday. (^_^) )

further to my notion that various jewish populations have tended to imitate the mating patterns (eg. cousin marriage or not) of the broader societies in which they have been situated — at least over the last millennium or so (dunno about the ancient hebrews) — here are some numbers on the types of cousin marriage found in the iranian jewish population. remember that consanguineous marriage is quite high among iranian jews — something on the order of 25%. from Outcaste: Jewish Life in Southern Iran [pg. 112]:

jews - iran- cousin marriage types

notice that nearly one third (3.06%) of all the first cousin marriages (9.88%) are to the father’s brother’s daughter (fbd or FaBrDa in the table). another 1.41% of the marriages are to other patrilateral parallel cousins, probably paternal second cousins. (that’d be father’s father’s brother’s son’s daughter marriage, if you must know. =P or ffbsd marriage! never mind. don’t think about it too hard.)

so ca. 4.5% of iranian jewish marriages are to a patrilateral parallel cousin to some sort. remember that patrilateral parallel cousin marriage (fbd marriage…or ffbsd marriage!) is very unusual. most of humanity avoids it. the vast majority of populations that practice cousin marriage practice maternal cousin marriage — usually cross-cousin maternal marriage or mbd marriage. it’s only the arabized world which favors parallel paternal cousin marriage (and the tswana). it’d be too much of coincidence, i think, for iranian jews to have invented fbd marriage all on their own — i’m betting they picked it up from other iranian peoples after the arabs introduced it to the region.

uuunnnnleeesssss…the jews (also?) introduced it to the region, as they are thought to have done in arabia. hmmmm…?

interestingly, persian jews seem to have put their own twist onto parallel cousin marriage and that is that they also marry maternal parallel cousins (mother’s sister’s daughter or msd marriage or MoSiDa in the table). that form of parallel cousin marriage is even more unusual than fbd marriage. i don’t know of any population that does it. nearly everyone on the planet avoids it. it might, however, have seemed natural to this group of jews — natural, that is, if you’re thinking of adopting parallel cousin marriage at all — since jews have had a very long tradition of allowing/practicing maternal uncle-niece marriage. there are more than two times the number of maternal uncle-niece marriage (SiDa) than paternal uncle-niece marriage (BrDa) in this persian group, for instance. (all of this harkens back to the idea that you know who an individual’s mother is, but you can never be sure who the father is.) i think this is another indicator that persian jews picked up the idea of parallel cousin marriage from the surrounding population (although perhaps it was back in the levant?), and then they adapted it to their own practices. could be wrong. Further Research is RequiredTM.

if (IF) i’m right — going by this persian evidence and the medieval german jewish evidence — that jews have generally adopted the mating patterns of their host populations, then an interesting question is, do other subgroups do this, too? will, for instance, muslim immigrants to the west adopt outbreeding? dunno. mixed signals here. in britain, where most pakistanis are from the kashmir and punjab regions, the total cousin marriage rate in the 1980s (that’s first and second cousins) was 67% [pg. 10]. the rate for all-punjab back in pakistan was 50.3% [pg. 16]. that certainly looks like an increase in cousin marriage in the immigrant population. however, meanwhile in norway, two studies found that pakistani-born pakistanis had higher rates of cousin marriage than norwegian-born pakistanis (37.5% & 34.7% versus 30.1% & 27.1% – pg. 11 – don’t know where pakistanis in norway are from). that looks like a decrease. all things considered, it’s probably too early to tell what the trend(s) might turn out to be.

korotayev and other russian anthropologists have argued — convincingly, imho — that father’s brother’s daughter’s (fbd) marriage was spread by the arabs, since its maximum range today (looking away from the outlier tswana in southern africa) corresponds to the eighth-century caliphate. they further argue that, as part of a more general “arabization” process, the conquered populations emulated their conquerors in all sorts of ways, both in order to succeed in this newly constructed society and, quite possibly, since they viewed the arabs’ culture as somehow superior to their own. the arabs were the conquerors, after all. they must’ve been doing something right! the arabs may even have impressed upon their new subjects that their culture was, indeed, the better one. if they’re right, it seems much less likely to me that immigrant groups to the west will copy our mating patterns if we don’t impress on them that we think they’re important and the right way to go.

previously: historic mating patterns of ashkenazi jews and jewish inbreeding and father’s brother’s daughter’s marriage

(note: comments do not require an email. persian jewish girl. (^_^) )


hallelujah! from thomas friedman, no less:

“David Kirkpatrick, the Cairo bureau chief for The Times, wrote an article from Libya on Monday that posed the key question, not only about Libya but about all the new revolutions brewing in the Arab world: ‘The question has hovered over the Libyan uprising from the moment the first tank commander defected to join his cousins protesting in the streets of Benghazi: Is the battle for Libya the clash of a brutal dictator against a democratic opposition, or is it fundamentally a tribal civil war?’

“This is the question because there are two kinds of states in the Middle East: ‘real countries’ with long histories in their territory and strong national identities (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Iran); and those that might be called ‘tribes with flags,’ or more artificial states with boundaries drawn in sharp straight lines by pens of colonial powers that have trapped inside their borders myriad tribes and sects who not only never volunteered to live together but have never fully melded into a unified family of citizens. They are Libya, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The tribes and sects that make up these more artificial states have long been held together by the iron fist of colonial powers, kings or military dictators. They have no real ‘citizens’ in the modern sense. Democratic rotations in power are impossible because each tribe lives by the motto ‘rule or die’ — either my tribe or sect is in power or we’re dead.”

been there, said that.

here’s (some of) what kirkpatrick has to say about the tribal sitch in libya:

“The question has hovered over the Libyan uprising from the moment the first tank commander defected to join his cousins protesting in the streets of Benghazi: Is the battle for Libya the clash of a brutal dictator against a democratic opposition, or is it fundamentally a tribal civil war…?

“The behavior of the fledgling rebel government in Benghazi so far offers few clues to the rebels’ true nature. Their governing council is composed of secular-minded professionals — lawyers, academics, businesspeople — who talk about democracy, transparency, human rights and the rule of law. But their commitment to those principles is just now being tested as they confront the specter of potential Qaddafi spies in their midst, either with rough tribal justice or a more measured legal process.

“Like the Qaddafi government, the operation around the rebel council is rife with family ties. And like the chiefs of the Libyan state news media, the rebels feel no loyalty to the truth in shaping their propaganda, claiming nonexistent battlefield victories, asserting they were still fighting in a key city days after it fell to Qaddafi forces, and making vastly inflated claims of his barbaric behavior.”

well, after hearing that — that the “operation around the rebel council is rife with family ties” — i’m gonna call this a civil war in libya and NOT a democratic uprising. in fact, i’m not even sure civil war is the right term. to be a civil war there needs to be a civitas, right? i’m not so sure that a group of endogamous tribes that happen to live in an artifically created state constitutes a civitas. this is more like good, old-fashioned tribal warfare like you woulda found in pre-state days.

anyway, here’s where kirkpatrick gets it wrong:

“But the legacy of such tribal rivalries in Libya may in fact be fading, thanks in part to the enormous changes that Colonel Qaddafi — a modernizer, in his idiosyncratic way — helped bring about. Coming to power just before the oil boom, he tapped Libya’s new wealth to provide schools, hospitals and other benefits for Libya’s desperately poor, semi-nomadic population.

“Gradually, Libya became overwhelmingly urban, with about 85 percent of its populations clustered around its two main urban centers — Tripoli and Benghazi.

“Though many of the people who flocked to the growing cities continued to identify closely by tribe, they now live mixed together. Many from eastern tribes now live in western Tripoli, and tens of thousands of members of the predominantly western tribes, Warfalla and Tarhuna, which form the core of Colonel Qaddafi’s support, now live in Benghazi and last weekend staged a major public demonstration there calling on their western cousins to join the revolt.”

just ’cause people are shuffled around doesn’t mean that tribal ties will be broken — NOT if they’re still marrying their kin at a rate of 46.5% — a rate similar to that found in iraq, and look how well they all get along! the chinese tried to get rid of the hakka clans in southern china during the cultural revolution by moving them around and not letting the members of various clans live with one another like they traditionally did. didn’t work. (the clan members are now living with one another again.) prolly ’cause the hakka had remained endogamous.

nope. if u wanna get rid of tribes or clans or whatever, u have to understand where tribes and clans come from. they do not just miraculously appear out of nowhere. they are the products of mating patterns. so, to get rid of tribes, u need to use hbdchick’s draconian measures of banning inbreeding. or do something to stop the inbreeding. shuffling people around might help ’cause you might make it more awkward for people to marry their kin over long distances. but better techniques would be just to ban it outright or encourage outbreeding somehow. (note: this is not a recommendation from me. just sayin’ how it could be done if someone really wanted to get rid of tribes. people can inbreed all they want afaiac.)

friedman is really lost-in-space, though, in how he views egypt and iran and tunisia:

“It is no accident that the Mideast democracy rebellions began in three of the real countries — Iran, Egypt and Tunisia — where the populations are modern, with big homogenous majorities that put nation before sect or tribe and have enough mutual trust to come together like a family: ‘everyone against dad.'”


he’s gotta be kidding! ok, so maybe egypt doesn’t have tribes the way saudi arabia and libya does, but they are extremely clannish! their consanguinity rate was 29.7% in 2008. that’s a lot better than libya, but nuthin’ like anything you see in the west. so, good luck with the democracy thing there!

and iran?! he’s gotta be kidding:

these pc correct people are never gonna understand what’s going on in the world until they learn some biology. you can’t mix-and-match different ideologies (like democracy) with different peoples ’cause different peoples is different. duh! and, most crucially when we’re talking about tribes, mating patterns matter.

previously: cousin marriage conundrum addendum and libya – land o’ tribes and all tribes, all the time! and aígyptos

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