Saturday, 26 September 2009

The fallen king of the concrete jungle

A few weeks ago, and thanks to the efforts of BETA, an organisation that works hard to protect and shelter animals in Lebanon, a lion was rescued from a harrowing reality and an inevitable death.
A pet shop near the Beirut port, famous for selling tropical and rare animals had been keeping a lion in a a cage the size of a small car. Emaciated, weak, sick and sad, this king of the jungle lay nearly motionless as volunteers fought for his right to life.

A friend of mine had been there at the time of the rescue, and it was she that called me and told me about the king, to my utter disbelief. But I did not realise how bad his situation was till I saw photos the next day, and even that was nothing compared to what I would feel when I journeyed to see his majesty at Animal Encounter, an animal reserve in the mountains where he had been moved to recover.

The two year old lion, young and yet larger than you would expect, had been fed intravenously for god knows how long. A carnivore that was deprived of being a carnivore. The facts around how long his "jailer" had had him for were hazy. He had changed his story many times, but it was long enough for the lion's paws to get infected due to lack of exercise. Long enough for a lion to become a cat.

It was a large cat I saw. It could not be a Lion, the King of the jungle. It could not be an "Aslan", with long thick mane, rippling muscles, glistening fur, and a roar that shook the earth.
It should have been. But it was not.
What this "lion" was, was a frail body, with a belly bloated and full of anything but food, skin that clung to ribs, eyes that could speak stories, in volumes of hurt.

As I stood in front of him, numb and paralyzed with empathy, anger, and disgust at mankind and his unfaltering ability to destroy, my face got hotter and hotter and my eyes felt like coals as I held back unexpected tears.

In this concrete jungle, the King of beasts has been mercilessly dethroned by a monster: Mankind's ever growing capacity to put his selfish, greedy desires above all else.


cardejah said...

:( made me tear up...

you hadn't written for a whole month!
and this as a comeback!
very intense.

It's really disgusting that things like these can happen.

Man seems to love exercising his powers over whom they think are lesser beings.
what is happening to humanity?

Omar said...

That's screwed up.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry Adam!
I can't stop crying for you

It was so long ago that this happened,I know but your loss is just as haunting as if it was today!

I am a huge LOVER of Lions!!