Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Tiger in Egypt!!

A sign inside Giza Zoo that Reads (For your safety, Don't tease animals ... Zoo Admin)!!!

Giza Zoo… a significant sight in Cairo... Particularly in Giza district and in one of its main streets (Mourad Street) and in front of the Four Seasons First Residence hotel.
It's mainly visited by school kids or mainly kids who want to take a glimpse of the animals they used to see in the books or the TV.
It's quiet or may I say an extreme crowded, smelly, and piteous place during our feasts.
Animals are mostly sleeping, sick (either physically or from the people themselves), or may be dead, or killed… like what happened to the rare camels there months ago.

I myself visited this distinct place when I was a kid and while it was still somehow clean and elegant and still had got entertaining (non-smelly) animals. I had many pictures there feeding the giraffe, the monkeys, and the elephant… It was and still somehow is a very special event when the parents take their son or daughter for the very first time to watch animals live!!!

What made me think about Giza Zoo is the accident that took place on the beginning of the Christmas vacation in the San Francisco Zoo in the U.S.
A big fuss was made and lots of investigation to see how the 17 year old boy was killed and two others were attacked and injured in the food court!!!

The mystery of how the tiger named Tatiana at the San Francisco Zoo managed to escape from its cage, kill one visitor and maul two others is getting clearer. Three days after the fatal attack, investigations by the San Francisco Police Department disclosed that the Lion House's wall was nearly four feet shorter than the height recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which accredits zoos in the United States.
(I believe if this was in Egypt the Association itself will accredit 10 feet shorter than the height of your home fence… getting rid of a large number of people is one of the main targets of our government and among their long-term plan to decrease our population … it's more guaranteed than birth control!!!).

Tatiana, the tiger of San Fransisco Zoo

But another factor could have been involved: there have been reports that one of the victims provoked the tiger, named Tatiana, by dangling his legs over the exhibit wall. "If an animal is used to spectators on the other side of the barricade and someone … has their leg dangling over, that could be a problem," says Scott Lope, operations director of Big Cat Rescue, an animal sanctuary in Florida. "They could be provoked by anything out of the ordinary."

(I guess also that if that happened in Egypt, the tiger won't do anything… It'll just go to sleep or die or do anything else… coz here… dangling legs is normal not provocative and animals here have seen worse acts form Egyptians that any other people or animals could ever imagine… people are ready to hug tigers or pull their tails as if they're cats.. Coz they ignore how to treat animals… and sometimes… human beings!)

Lope explains that while tigers are not particularly territorial animals, they are extremely attuned to changes in their environment. Lope, who has spent 10 years working with tigers and other big cats, spoke to Newsweek's Sarah Kliff about what provokes a tiger to attack and why the number of such attacks has been on the rise for more than a decade.

For more of this piece of news… You can visit the Newsweek official website…
But believe me if a tiger had to appear soon in Egypt and it won't kill only one or two… they'll be hundreds… and the government will condemn this act… blame the tiger… and console the families… What a merciful Government!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Why is Christmas so colorful?

Last week was our feast… The Muslims big feast which lasted for 4 days.
Some people call it the Bairam and it comes in Thul Hijja (a month in the Islamic calendar) it's the month when people heads to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to do the pilgrimage (Al-Hajj) as long as they have the strength, the money, and a pilgrimage visa of course… at last it all happens by God's will.
For those who stay home to celebrate the feast, we usually fast on the 9th day of Thul Hijja, and then sacrifice a lamb or vealer and give our family, friends, and the poor from its meat.

Today was the Christmas for all catholic Christians and for many times it comes to meet our feast just days after our celebration.

When I think about our celebration… I don't find much fun in it, although I can't deny we share the happiness of taking a long vacation and days off from work, we visit family and gather for lunch and dinner, and we buy new clothes (only when the financial status is good coz it's not a sale season) and hang out.

But what does make Christmas more cheerful, more colorful, and more special?

1. The Christmas tree and the colorful decorations … I love the green Christmas tree with all the ornaments and toys hanging from it and I love the way people gets to decorate their homes with warm colors which are suitable for the winter like deep green and bright red.

2. I love the idea of Santa Claus who is an old man with white beard wearing also a bright red and white costume and brings gifts for everyone and put candies in his pockets and in colorful knitted and embroidered socks… although I don't believe in what he represents but I love him as a symbol.

3. I love the snowman and the snow balls and the snow flakes, anything related with the snow… I only saw it and felt it once during my visit to Denmark and I miss it a lot.

4. I'm sorry to say that but I like the tunes of Christmas songs and carols more than songs of eid… It's better for me to listen to (All I want from Christmas) or (feliz Navidad) performed by Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, or Michael Bolton… rather than to listen to the stupid kids song of safaa' Abol So'oud (Ahlan Ahlan bel eid)!!!

5. Gifts are so important, family exchange a lot of different gifts with colorful and delightful wrappings… it really makes Christmas good.

6. Sale is everywhere… The Christmas season is the best time in the year to do some shopping, either for clothes, kitchenware, furniture, accessories… etc.

7. The streets look clean and decorated with lights and trees.

8. There are millions of movies about Christmas, most of them are comedies, romantic comedies, or… pure comedy!
But not a single respectful movie about our feast and how we celebrate it nowadays or the social and economical issues during the time of the feast.

Finally, that's why I find the catholic Christmas more cheerful and colorful than any other feast in the world or in any religion.
Of course I don't believe in Christmas as a day or in it's spirit and I don't really think it was the day that Jesus (peace be upon him) was born in, due to many historical certified references of course.
But I only love the symbols.

What I love about our feast is its spirituality and holiness and what it really represents, but what I like about Christmas is the way it's celebrated… that's it.
I hope one day we can add colors, gifts, and cheerful symbols to our feast.