To my Beirut

Á mon Beyrouth…

Happy Easter? Where are the rights of the chicks?!?!?

On my way from work last week I came across a small place in Dekwaneh where I saw a shocking sight!

Yes…. it does make you wonder…

Chicks in distress

It reminded me of when I was a kid and I went to the vegetable souk in Abu Dhabi with my parents took me the the pet shops not far away… Then, at the age of 5, I was fascinated by the sight of such lovely colors on chicks…. and in my little head I actually presumed they were born that way. So being the girly girl that I was, I picked the bright coloured pink one.

One day my chick became very sick and was looking sad. When I came back from school, I rushed to make sure how it was doing. I came back to find it… Red!

Those little white lies that our parents tell us…. from Santa Clause to the Tooth Fairy to telling their little girl that they took her little pink chick to the doctor and the medicine he gave her (yes, pink=female) turned her feathers red! To their defense, it was my parents’ way to protect their daughter from such ideas as death.

Didn’t last long though. A few days later I come home to find an empty box… Where is my chick? I ask. My nanny, who spoke a mixture of arabic, english and sri lankan, told me that my chick was “Foq”.

“Foq?” again I asked. I understood, but couldn’t figure it out.

“Eh, yes, foq, foq, up, UP,” she claimed, pointing upwards.

I went to the cupboards and looked at the top shelf. Where “UP”? What was my chick doing up there?

“La2, La2 (no, no), Pinky (as my red chick was still called), Pinky go heaven, to God… to Jesus.”

My sweet old nana was a buddhist, but she attended church with us, so she knew what terms to use that I would understand, although as I later broke down in tears, mourning for my beloved pink/red chick, she explained that he hadn’t really died, and that my chick would be reborn in one form or another, although, my five year old self at the time did not understand what she meant by “re-inncaanaytionnn”.

Thus my first encounter with the term “death”. At an age when I was fiercely protected by my parents from stories of war, hunger, cruelty and grief. At an age when I thought the worst catastrophe that could occur was that I would be scolded by my mother for losing my eraser at school for the 4th time that month. At an age in which only my world existed.

Before I left. Before I grew up.

Back to Dekwaneh, Lebanon, 2010… the smiling shopkeeper tells me if I could like to have a chick…

I had come to purchase two ordinary looking, non-coloured chicks for my baby cousins…

“Why?” he asks, absolutely perplexed at the idea that one would prefer the ordinary ones over the coloured ones…

Why did he have them there in the first place?

“They’re only 1,500 liras,” he says (the ordinary ones were 1000). Don’t you want those?

Did I want them? Of course I wanted them, but aren’t these chicks affected by the poison they have been coloured with against their will?!? How I wished I could buy them all and take care of them, but I was stuck in the ethical dilemma, torn between those adorable little chicks, and the fact that I would be encouraging this kind of act against chicks if I did buy them… I absolutely was not going to affect the market demand by buying more coloured chicks.

“But they are not affected! Look at them, they are so happy!” he says…

I wanted to punch him in the face. Instead I sucked my tummy in, held my breath and walked away with two natural looking chicks, knowing that I could do nothing about it.

With all the problems and catastrophes in the world to think of, yet the little 5 year old came back for a split second to make me worry about the little coloured chicks in that cage…


2 comments on “Happy Easter? Where are the rights of the chicks?!?!?

  1. Fishing Umbrella :
    October 29, 2010

    i love to visit pet shops because i love to see cute little puppies*~;

  2. Hormone Replacement
    November 17, 2010

    i would usually visit pet shops because my dog and cats can eat so much pet food in one day ..*

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This entry was posted on March 31, 2010 by in Lebanon News and tagged , , , , .
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