The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Monkey Business 

There's Baboon Trouble down in the south-west of the Kingdom.


The increasing numbers of baboons in the southwestern area of the Kingdom is turning into a real menace for the residents of the area, said an official of the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development (NCWCD).
Saeed Jama a, a public relations officer at NCWCD in Riyadh stated that residents in Taif, Al-Baha, Abha and Jizan have started to complain about the nuisance these animals create.
Large numbers of baboons are becoming more and more daring. They enter houses, open refrigerators and sometimes attack the children in villages, said Saeed.
The NCWCD recently conducted a research study, which revealed that the baboon engages in an often destructive behavior, destroying vegetable gardens and fruit crops.
Baboons are fearless fighters, they are not intimidated by bigger animals, including humans.

I can confirm the last sentence. When the A's went on a vacation to South Africa, we made the regular tourist trip right down to the Cape of Good Hope. At the parking lot for the Cape itself, there were baboons wandering around, and even sitting on cars, like the one I photographed here. We thought they were very smart, with lots of attitude. There must have been a band of about 20 in the area.

After we'd done the walk up to the lighthouse and then down to the very tip of the Cape, we made our way back to the parking lot. "Oh look," said a small A, " there's a baboon near our car!". And indeed, it was near our rental car.

To be precise, it was ON our car. Or rather, ITS car. You see, it had taken possession. It looked at us quite arrogantly as we made our way gingerly towards it, but there was no way it was going to budge. It had a great view up there, it could see all the comings and goings, not to mention the Cape, the lighthouse, and the sea where two oceans meet. As it looked at us it seemed to say rather sarcastically, "Sorry, am I keeping you from your four o'clock meeting?". I also had the surrealistic feeling that perhaps we had ourselves been lured into some sort of zoo, where baboons pay to come and observe Homo sapiens in its natural environment - "Oh look, Chuk Chuk, look at those little ones, aren't they cute? But that big male looks completely stupid, obviously slipped and fell off the evolutionary ladder, ho ho ho".

We didn't have any food left to bribe it with, and the thought briefly crossed my mind that perhaps we could drive away slowly with it in place, like forgetful people with their shopping on top, and hope it would take the hint and jump down; but we'd probably end up surrounded by the whole band, pointing angrily at their cousin clinging to the top of the car, and making insulting "What? Are you completely stoopid?" gestures with their fingers. In the end we adopted the tactic of total indifference. So, there's a baboon sitting on our car, so what? Happens all the time where we come from. We didn't want to drive anywhere, anyway. Just look at the view. Oh there's an interesting plant, what is it? And in his / her own time, it descended in leisurely fashion, and wandered off to find more interesting humans to study, possibly ones with food.

But on to other matters. Because coincidentally, there will also be a Simian invasion of our neighboring country of Bahrain.

300 Islamic Scholars to Attend Manama Meet on Prophet

In the wake of recent attacks by the enemies of Islam, five leading Islamic organizations have organized an international conference in defense of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The conference will be in Manama, Bahrain, from March 22 to 23.

I'm sorry. I know, that's a cheap shot. Comparing 300 Islamic scholars to a tribe of baboons. Most unfair. But you see, one thing about baboons is, they recognize their females as the protectors of the future of the tribe, so they treat them with all due respect, not as some sort of inconvenient biological necessity. And the other thing is, baboons don't keep going on about the need to apologize for something trivial that happened last September. "Hey, Ook-Ook, September 22nd, remember, you stuck your bottom out at me and wiggled it, thereby insulting the memory of the long-departed Wuk-Wuk, don't think I've forgotten it, and I'm still waiting for you to roll over on your back and stick your limbs in the air in a gesture of apology". So yes, it's an unkind comparison, 300 baboons are much more sensible than 300 Islamic scholars, much further up the ladder, especially when the latter are still coming out with this stuff....

He said the conference will send a message that Muslims are demanding not only an unconditional apology but assurances that all European governments show respect to Muslim minorities by not indulging in anti-Islam campaigns and that their rights are well protected.

He said Muslims are not satisfied with the ambiguous apology by the Danish paper largely published in Arabic newspapers.

Muslims don t want any apology on a piece of paper, but a program, that translates the apology into practice, he emphatically said.

The apology largely published in the Arabic newspapers was invented by Danish Embassy in Riyadh and it was not an apology at all. The Danish government so far refused to submit any apology to Muslims, he said.

"The apology....was not an apology at all". This is:

(i) An ironic contradiction, tracing its roots back to the traditions of Aristotelian dualism?
(ii) An apparently nonsensical statement that, when explored deeply, reveals some fundamental truth about the nature of our existence?
(iii) A semantic structure known as a "Reverse Tautology"?
(iv) Complete Bollocks?

(Imam University, Riyadh, Final Honors paper, "Islamic Semantics and Advanced Obfuscation")

Too difficult? Yes, it was for me too, that's why I never became an Islamic scholar. That, and I never liked the uniform.

Here's an easier one. In the photo above, taken at the Press Conference announcing the event, one of the four is the Secretary-General of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). Which one?

What, you can't spot any youth, they all look quite old? Look harder. Just for a laugh, pick out the oldest-looking. So you picked the second from the left, the one with the greying beard? Well done! Yes, it's Dr. Saleh Sulaiman Al-Wohaibi, Secretary-General of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). Give yourself a pat on the back!

Here's a question for the baboons. You all manage to get along together, there's the occasional fight over a bit of food or a female, but it's soon "forgive and forget", so you're good at Conflict Resolution. What do you think of these people, the brightest and most intelligent in our religion, when they say this....?

He said the conference is also aimed at promoting understanding through dialogues between the two civilizations.

However, Al-Wohaiby categorically said that in the absence of a clear-cut apology from the Danish government or its criminal support that encourages defamation of Islam and its Final Prophet, WAMY or other non-governmental organizations are not ready to calm down the current Muslims passions.

Yes, I had a feeling that's what you'd say.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?