They’re Killing Pigeons Again

Tyrants end up killing pigeons; I don’t know why, but they do. Franco almost made the traditional old- fashioned competition “thief” pouters of southern Spain, like the Rafenos I keep, extinct. The Taliban’s mere sixteen “Commandments”, including ones against sorcery and NOT growing beards, include one, the fourth,”To prevent keeping pigeons and playing with birds. Within ten days, this habit/ hobby should stop. After ten days this should be monitored, and the pigeons and other playing birds should be killed.”

It worked- there are more Afghan highflyers in Salt Lake City than in Kabul today.But all kinds of totalitarian and even just Nannyists ar e tempted.Even before they tore out the hutongs, the remnants of an older city, Beijing’s pigeon flyers were harrassed by fanatical Maoists.And Chicago bans them as totally as the Taliban did, along with foie gras and at least until recntly, handguns…

But the Islamic “State” goes them one better; notoriously, they kill the OWNERS too, even if they are teeneaged boys. Syria, along with Turkey, has the most fine ancient breeds; it is where, if you beie the Turkish legends, and I do, the nomads  stopped and took the pigeons they took in their horse carts out, and settled.What is sure is that they have more genetic  diversity, and more breed “roots, than any other place. So now the crazies are desrtroying an ancient genetic heritage as well.

Look at these “refugees”:

They are Bagdads, the first letter carriers, now show birds, kept and illustrated by Darwin (above) and me…

THey are also ancestor to the German, or Nuremberg Bagdad, or Scanderoon (from “Iskander”, Alexander), which looks different from the English bird today– but the old type is like both…

It may not be a crime like killing humans, but it is certainly on a level with destroying art.

6 thoughts on “They’re Killing Pigeons Again”

  1. Well, okay–"playing" with birds taboo. What about FIGHTING with birds? Seems like cockfighting would be right up the Taliban's alley!….L.B.

  2. They pit partidges, and test- fight their stock protection dogs, in non lethal wrestling matches At east, most Central Asians in the region do.Since the Wahabist hate dogs, betting, 'playing with birds', I think we can assume there are npublic spactacles these days

  3. Yes, now I remember seeing on that odd but fascinating movie(with Omar Sharif and Jack Palance, no less!) about Afghanistan titled "The Horsemen", along with a scene of fighting camels, they showed a brief clip of fighting partridges! And not to forget that marvelous, well trained, one-horned fighting ram!…..L.B.

  4. THe Horsemen was based on a novel by Joseph Kessel, beautifully translated by Patrick O'Brian and recommended by frequent commenter Randy Davis (who may be the only person I know who has read more than me, Tom McGuane, Anne Proulx, or Elaine Duffy Evans– and we are the champions, AFAIK!

    ..And it is sitting approximately 18 inches from my left elbow!

  5. Never read the book, but of course now I MUST! The movie was apparently not very popular with the general public–too alien culture-wise for Western audiences probably. I always loved it–one of the only films actually filmed in Afghanistan and ABOUT Afghanistan! That WAS indeed a magnificent horse(Jaheel by name, if I am remembering correctly), and who could resist Leigh-Taylor Young as Zareh, the supposedley untouchable whore? OF COURSE you can "Google" all this stuff these days!…..L.B.


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