Scots, Horses and Egypt

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Travelling from Glasgow to various destinations in Egypt has never been so easy for Scots. Egypt is filled with Glaswegians, Highlanders and other Scots not just in our summer holiday season but most of the year due to its hot climate!


Recently while travelling in Egypt, a land I have always felt to be a second home and have lived in and visited many times, I was deeply shaken and sickened to the depths of my soul when I set eyes upon a horse so badly beaten and exhausted it could barely breathe let alone stand. Unbelievably, the man was still seated on the back of the animal still hitting it with his stick while it desperately struggled and gasped for breath and despairingly fought off collapse. This happened on Stable Street which housed many stables of horses, each seeking to take tourists around the Giza pyramids in Cairo.

I have some experience with horses having witnessed them every year at the finish line at the annual Grand National in Aintree, Liverpool. These horses are exhausted at the end of arduous race after which they are rested for 6 weeks, yet never before have I seen a horse in such a tragically exhausted state. I am aware that a horse will not stop running when it can run no longer, it will run honouring its master and his/her merciless whip until its heart literally bursts and it falls down dead.

Panicked I shouted with a mixture of classical Arabic and Jordanian dialect to the Arabian man to get off the horse before it collapses.

I was met with a hostile response. I told the Arab man who was guiding my horse around the Giza pyramids that I wanted to get off my horse as having seen this example of how the horses are treated I no longer wanted to ride the horse I had been given. The tragic horse that had gone by alarmed and alerted me to the fact that my horse might be tired of the scorching sun and might be under fed either through callous indifferent neglect or lack of funds. I was determined not to contribute to its ordeal. I was like so many other tourists from Glasgow and the rest of the UK, presuming that the horse was treated like our horses here in Britain.

The Arab man told me if I got off the horse the police helicopter above might reprimand him assuming that something had happened to upset a tourist, so I got off!

Unfortunately, I did not catch the helicopters attention. I hailed a tourist police car and told them of the horse which had been taken away. They were not interested and would not give me their office address or bosses name and wanted to drink tea with my husband and myself, which we refused!

Back at the hotel I wrote a letter, had it photocopied and gave it to the hotel management. They sent it to the tourist policeman whose office was on the hotel grounds. He sent us to another tourist policeman to investigate the case who at first pretended to write the report but did not. I learned of this as we were not asked to sign the report and should have done. We returned to the hotel tourist policeman for assistance.

The two men from Stable Street who had accompanied my husband and myself were finally brought in. They did not want to give the name of the brutal psychopathic man who had no empathy for the horse's pains. They said that cruelty to animals goes on most of the time in one way or another as they do not have laws to protect them. They said that often they have not got the money to feed the horses adequately so why pick on this one man? I argued if the horse had no rights the man was aggressive to me so he needed to be found.

Shock waves went out down all the stables of Stable Street, Cairo because a tourist had signed a completed report and the investigations unit were looking for the aggressive man.

Through other sources I learned the man’ s name and that he was a tourist golf caddi in a named Cairo hotel. He had been planning on buying the horse that day and that was how he was beating down the price, making the horse look nearly dead! I learned that the horse, “the victim” had been hidden and as they put it, the assailant had become an “invisible man.” I was aware he would reappear when I returned to Glasgow. Our taxi drive got a call from the man’s mother asking me to drop the charges!

Daily I took scraps of food to the dogs who lived along the road side, stables and around the pyramids including those of Giza, Sakkarah etc. My husband photographed me feeding them. I learned how good it felt to give to the needy and that daily routine became one of the most important aspects of the holiday. The dogs were surprisingly friendly but also fearful at first running away when I threw meat to them. I asked my guide “do people here throw stones at the dogs as I have never seen a starving and thirsty animal run away from food? He told me that they did. Meat is unusual for me as we have been vegetarians for twenty years.

I spoke with the hotel tourist policeman about the Hadith of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. These are accounts of the prophet’s verdicts, his opinions, his teachings that are not found in the Koran.

Muhammad told a woman she would go to Paradise for giving water to a thirsty cat and scolded a man that he would go to hell for not helping or feeding a homeless dog.

One German Ambassador had told me that Egypt was like a Bangladesh on the Nile and that the tourists’ money is their lifeline. When tourists go to Egypt I suggest that they give money to the owners of the horses and donkeys to so they can feed their animals and/or take or buy doggie bag scraps of food from their hotels to the starving cats, dogs, donkeys, horses. It is important not to get into carriages presuming the horse can take the weight! Feng shui and many world religions say if you give, then good will come back to you.

It is a cultural shock for many and emotionally exhausting to see donkeys and their foals who have worked carrying gigantic loads for 18 hour plus days nuzzling in scraps of newspaper to find food.

When completing the hotel comment form I suggested that the large amount of food that is thrown away be given to the starving donkeys, horses, dogs and cats. Surprised, the hotel management contacted me before I left and informed me that they would look into it. I remarked does not Islam teach that “We are all guests at Allah’s table and that we should share the food with all creatures and not waste it?”

I explained that I am an author and teach psychical research which includes near death experiences. Ndes are when people pronounced medically dead reawaken in the morgue after a day or so and are returned to intensive care then home, many framing their death certificates. They describe the activities that took place while their inert physical body lay in the morgue but their soul, spirit, energy body was free to soul journey. They describe the people, animals, birds etc seen in the surviving non–physical after death dimension. In this surviving energy world, energy which physicists say can never be destroyed, they describe their judgement as a life review wherein they feel the pains of another as if they were their own, the pains that they have inflicted passively or aggressively during their physical lifetime whether it be on people or any other creature!

I also mentioned it is a known fact that people who are psychopathic inflicting pain on another are known by criminologists to move from hurting animals to people. There is a famous quote that says; “You can judge a civilisation by the way it treats its animals. We need to respect all forms of life.”

Since my return I have contacted the Brooke Hospital for Horses based in Cairo, Luxor and the UK and asked can they facilitate talks to sensitize the tourist police to search out the cruelty which so offends human decency and upsets the tourists and talks to the stable owners. Egypt needs its tourists desperately not just for their money but also for the change tourists can insist upon, taking the present day Arab inhabitants back to the days of the ancient Egyptians when dogs, cats, horses were cherished pets . The Brooke Hospital was established by a Colonels wife at the end of World War Two when the British decided to leave behind our horses as an unfitting reward for their intense war efforts rather than bringing them home, as I am sure all longed to return to the cool green fields. She uniquely perhaps understood the dark doomed fate to which many of our horses had been assigned.

I plan to write to the President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, Helliopolis, Cairo to ask can he establish a law to give animals rights as yet they have no rights, unlike most countries in the world. They say it is “his/her animal so he can do what he likes to it.” The Egyptian President and his wife visit hotels to welcome tourists but are unaware of what the tourists are appalled by and do not tell him but speak about when they return home. We need companies such as James Wellbeloved, Burns, who supply sacks of nutritious dry biscuit dog food at inexpensive prices and similar horse food companies to establish contacts with Egypt as this is lacking in Egypt. I have taken on a second dog from Cardonald Dog and Cat Home in Glasgow as a gesture of something I can do to help and he will be company for our dog of ten years.

Most pet owners are aware that their animal has the intelligence of a three year old child, for all of its life, exhibiting the emotions and traits of children. This is confirmed by many animal behaviourists. A person is reminded of the recent tragic event whereby the 9 year old Scottish Jack Russell gave his life to save the children from the pending attack of the two pit bull terriers. He should be awarded the highest medal of honour, the Victoria Cross for laying down his life for another, as he had his throat ripped out and the children were saved!

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