Two birds

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015 05:12 pm
tamf: jade dragon belt clasp. (Default)
Here are two stories about birds.

Wisdom the Albatross has returned to Midway. Apparently this is the oldest wild bird we know about. And she's still laying eggs, putting many a chicken to shame. I wish albatrosses a long life, and many happy eggs.

Odin the Eagle has fled. In this bittersweet tale, a golden eagle made a bid for freedom whilst holidaying with his owner in Scotland. The owner has not given up hope of getting him back, but remains realistic: "If he has not had too much food he would come down to me, but if he's full of food he would not bother."

It's awful to lose a cherished pet, of course, but one part of me can't help saying "Fly, Odin, fly!" and hoping he manages out there in the wild.
tamf: jade dragon belt clasp. (Default)
Some years ago, my husband was invited to hold a guest lecture at a university in Tunisia. I urged him to accept it, and borrowed a course in Arabic from the library. I was quite keen to accompany him!

Then the invitation was withdrawn. It seems some American academic had held a lecture in Tunisia where he called for human rights and democarcy. As a precaution against further such offences against the regime, invitations to foreign speakers were withdrawn. We didn’t go to Tunisia, and I stopped doing the course after “merhaba”.

A few years down the line, a young man set fire to himself in that same country, and people took to the streets, got beaten, gassed, shot, and still took to the street. And soon, I hope, anyone will be able to speak about human rights, democracy, whatever they want in Tunisia.

I didn’t really catch on to the unrest in Tunisia, but did when it reached Egypt. Feverishly following tweets on the protests from a number of people in and out of Egypt, I felt a part of the protests, even though of course nothing much was at stake for me. Still, I felt that if I were there to witness things, I could help move things along. If I updated my timeline one more time, Mubarak would surely go!

I remember feeling like this when Israelis and Palestinians finally signed a deal back in the nineties. That, of course, turned into a terrible disappointment. But what the recent events in the Arab world has given me are some beautiful pictures:

- Muslims and Christians protecting one another and praying together, being “one hand”, “all Egyptians”
- People stoically praying against the force of a water cannon
- The entirety of Tahrir Square (usually a trafficated roundabout) filled by people praying, singing or cheering
- Protesters deciding they'd clean up the square, including rocks that had been thrown at them

The last few months have given me a newfound respect for the unsinkable North Africans, made me a friend of Islam more than any number of "look at their former greatness" exposes could have done, and taught me a fine new collections of Arabic words:

Hob (here)
Shabab (people)
Tahrir (liberation)

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