Monday, May 16, 2005


A Horse Called Dignity

I have a special fondness for horses. I find Arabian thoroughbreds particularly beautiful. They are relatively smal in stature (compared to the great war or work horses of Europe for example), slender in limbs, elegant in movement yet quite resilient.

Decades ago I had a pedigree mare I called Anafa (Dignity). Some of my friends called her Qanafa (Couch) to tease me – something I found quite distasteful while they thought it was hilarious!

Anafa was young, blond and playful. I used to ride her a lot around the farm.

One reckless day, I raced her and spent hours going round and round riding her. She was fed up and tired, I went too far. Finally she wiggled her body and quite intentionally threw me off her back… and ran back to her barn. I was not hurt… except in my dignity! My first thought was that I was lucky nobody was around. Anybody who has fallen from the back of a horse knows how “undignified” that may feel.

In extreme anger, I ran after her and when I found her I raised my hand and lightly but firmly slapped her on the face.

For several weeks after that ‘insult’, she wouldn’t let me pat her on the face. She would just jerk her head upwards and away in an act of injured dignity and anger.

Dignity’s indignation ultimately made me realize something that made feel guilty. She was the original injured party, not me! It was my own recklessness that drove her to do what she did.


One unfortunate July, when Anafa was kept in an orchard I have on the farm because it was cooler there. The fool who was looking after her let her loose and she ate too many unripe dates and Anafa died.

I never knew what attachment to an animal could mean before her death.

I never owned a horse afterwards.


[So many people seem to blame Iraqis for a multitude of things… forgetting that these people are originally (and repeatedly) the injured party.]

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