By Ako Muhammed
The Kurdish Globe--Erbil
Saving donkeys and ensuring they are treated in a humane manner becomes the main task of the Kurdistan Donkeys Association.
Donkeys in Kurdistan await government approval of financial support to help establish a shelter project for all donkeys'a project that will ensure their survival--said leader of the Donkeys Party, Omer Klol.
"The best time is when I speak to people and they understand me without hurting my feelings," said Klol, founder of the so-called Donkeys Party, who spoke about problems donkeys suffer in Kurdistan. "People don't understand because they have learned wrong about donkeys. Because a donkey is unfortunate and obedient, people have no respect for it. But I say the donkey is clever and better than a human being. It has descriptions that do not exist in man."
For over 20 years, Klol has struggled to spread the principle attributes of donkeys: patience, obedience, satisfaction, and a "work without reward" attitude. Thanks to his efforts, his goal is partially achieved--but only in the benefit of one type of donkey--the mankind members. He was granted with a license by the KRG to officially establish the Kurdistan Donkeys Association in 2005. The association strives to bring back respect for donkeys when they are used for work; it seeks the rights of feeding, shoeing, and rest. But, the right of freedom for donkeys has a different meaning, according to Klol. "Setting a donkey or animal at large does not mean you have given it freedom; it means you made it homeless, down and out, and exposed to being mocked by the people. Donkeys do not demand that type of freedom. It is free when it used for work. It starts braying from early morning, asking for work."
Klol estimates to have about 10,000 members of his association across Iraq, but mostly in the areas of his influence, including in the Suleimaniya and Garmiyan areas. The association currently distributes forms to its members to fill out so as to specify who is taking the issue as a joke and who is serious about defending the donkeys' rights. Each member can submit a photo and basic information in order to have party identity. The members call each special titles such as big brother or big sister. By the number of legs, they describe the type of donkeys (four-legged as in the animal, or two-legged as in members of the party). Sometimes, Klol reports to the media about the party's intentions of participating in elections.
But the real struggle still remains in its early stages, and the four-legged type of donkeys is vanishing, warned Klol. "I am so late. Donkeys are vanishing--the other day, a man came from Suleimaniya seeking a donkey. He couldn't find one." Klol cried for his "big brothers and big sisters" while being interviewed in downtown Kala. "They [donkeys] were all killed in car accidents or by children offensively. And a large number of them have been taken away to southern cities."
Consequently, Klol's association has come with a solution to save the four-legged animals. The Donkey Party was granted a piece of land--25 dunams--on which to build a shelter. But Klol complained that the KRG has not spent enough on the project, and he said the KRG hasn't answered a petition about a budget he requested two months ago. "I have raised many letters through the ministries and political parties, but all die at the Council of the Ministers--Barham is not signing it," he noted, in reference to KRG Prime Minister Dr. Barham Salih.
"I am afraid I'll find no donkeys left to put in the shelter. After years of braying, they have done this to me--wasting my time with red tape," complained Klol. "When they give the approval, it will be too late; then I think I would be obliged only to put two-legged donkeys in the shelter," he said, laughingly.
Klol knock on the door of every high-ranking official, demanding a budget with which to complete the donkey shelter, as well as monthly budget of three million Iraqi dinars for the association. He recently sent a letter to Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. Klol also sent a letter to U.S. President Barak Obama. Asked why he sent a letter to Obama, Klol replied: "For two reasons: His Democratic Party has a donkey as a symbol, and because Africa is where his father is from, which is the main homeland of donkeys."
As for the shelter, Klol said it is located atop a hill in the Qaradagh area, although he preferred a place in a valley. "I have a nice design for it. I will make rooms all around--and in front of them there will be places for eating and drinking, and just as important--brothels. And in the middle I will make flower gardens and passageways, making it to look like a resort."
According to Klol, the shelter will become a haven for donkeys and an entertaining place for people--"especially for the elderly people who have turned powerless to practice sex," he insisted. "Instead of watching pornography, they can come to see the big brothers and big sisters while doing sex and enjoy it. It is not haram for them," he laughed.
When asked if gathering donkeys in such a place might mean imprisoning them, Klol replied: "No. You serve them with food and drink, allow them to have sex, and the land is wide." The donkeys might become lazy, but there is no other solution. "When they are not used for work, why should they be mocked by children" I even say they will become stronger there. They will be fed well there."
If anyone such as "a respectable villager" needs a donkey, he must commit to the shelter's conditions before he is given one, said Klol. "A donkey costs an amount of money that obliges the buyer to be respectful to it. Also, the applicant must sign a deal in court, vowing not to make the donkey homeless after his needs are met," explained Klol. He advised human kind with a poem: "Enough for shedding blood--let us all live like donkeys. If we do so, we will not kill each other anymore--donkeys don't kill themselves."