Enough for shedding blood ~ let us all live like donkeys.
In spite of the fact that my moniker is that of a cat, I have a rather soft spot for donkeys. I have no doubt that the root of this affection is my none-worse-for-the-wear hand-knitted Phentex donkey Donna (a.k.a Donna the Donkey - left) whom I received on my 4th birthday (or possibly 5th - my mother will undoubtedly correct me on this). She has been with me ever since, and has uncomplainingly travelled with me everywhere - from Canada to Morocco to Spain to Slovakia to Italy to Turkey to Iraq. Among donkeys, she is a queen and is deserving of all praise and honour.
Needless to say, Donna has had a pretty good life - apart from losing her powder blue sun hat and saddle many many years ago (which wasn't my fault. At all.). This pretty good life of hers also sets her apart from other donkeys. For whatever reason(s) you care to suggest, donkeys - and I suspect that this has been the case since Christ wore knee-pants (or even before) - are generally and woefully mistreated in all four corners of the world. Our (and everyone else's) idioms bear this out rather colourfully, if not sadly.
Consequently, when we were living in the south of Spain, we became involved with the Nerja Donkey Sanctuary, a small but hardworking rescue centre whose mission was to offer refuge and medical treatment for abandoned, mistreated, or unwanted donkeys. For many donkeys, this sanctuary will prove to be their last earthly abode and as such, it's probably the closest they'll ever be to heaven before they enter that Celestial Stable in the Sky. It's no coincidence that my friends and family generally find themselves having adopted a Spanish burro as their Christmas present. (You're welcome.)
So imagine my surprise when Mr. This Cat's (Not) Abroad advised me yesterday that there is - in Kurdistan - a Kurdistan Donkeys Association. In a country which seems to offer animals little respect or decency (correction: songbirds are well treated notwithstanding their teeny-weeny cages), one man, Omer Klol, has made it his life's work ensuring that donkeys receive the respect they oh-so deserve.
"People don't understand because they have learned wrong about donkeys ... Because a donkey is unfortunate and obedient, people have no respect for it. But I say the donkey is clever and better than a human being."
Rock on Mr. Klol, who is, by the way, leader of the Donkey Party (I am having flashbacks to Canada's Rhinoceros Party one of whose lofty objectives was to count the Thousand Islands to ensure that the U.S. hadn't stolen any). The Donkey Party chose their namesake for good reason: donkeys don't kill one each other for power, money or politics, and they don't lie. Donna has never lied. At least that I know of.
Mr. Klol has been trying to whip up interest in his project for the past 5 years, but for the past 20 years, he has worked tirelessly to teach Iraqis that donkeys deserve our respect. His still non-existent sanctuary, (which he refers to as a "Donkey Utopia") will go a long way to offer a heartfelt bray of thanks to those donkeys leading an undoubtedly shitty life in Iraq (apart from our veggie man's donkey - below, right - which looks very well cared for), and their numbers are decreasing.
"They [donkeys] were all killed in car accidents or by children offensively. And a large number of them have been taken away to southern cities."
Southern cities? That sounds ominous. I wonder if it's like that mythical farm that most of our childhood pets emigrated to while we were all tucked into our beds or still at school.
But a utopia it is. Mr. Klol feels that the best way to tip your hat to a donkey's long years of service is to allow it access to green fields with flowers, food, water, and plenty of room to have sex. The latter is no joking matter. Not only is unbridled donkey love important for the donkey but for the country's seniors as well. The sanctuary-cum-donkey brothel will also be an
".. entertaining place for people, especially for the elderly people who have turned powerless to practice sex ... Instead of watching pornography, they can come to see the big brothers and big sisters while doing sex and enjoy it. It is not haram for them."
Iraqi seniors watching porn? Seriously - they do that here? Why do I find that more disturbing than them watching two donkeys getting it on? How will I ever look at the half-dozen octogenarians who live in my neighbourhood again? Oh the shame of it all!
In any case, the sod hasn't been turned yet on Mr. Klol's donkey brothel. Although approved by the Kurdistan Regional Government, the cheques (or rather trunkfuls of cash) have not been forthcoming. Until then, he has sent a letter to US President Barak Obama asking for his support. Why?
"His Democratic Party has a donkey as a symbol, and because Africa is where his father is from, which is the main homeland of donkeys."
Well here's hoping that he won't have to wait donkey's years for a response. In the meantime, I'm going to try very hard not to look at our rather aged veggie man (and his donkey), and wonder if he watches porn in his spare time, or will, in the future, be experiencing his love life vicariously through his faithful little humar.