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The Saturday Tirade: My Dilemma on Bakri Eid

It’s that time of the year again when I feel like I’m in a Nazi camp. After all these years, I’m still shaken and upset by the number of deaths on one day. It’s Bakri Eid and I’m still struggling.

Some parts of the city are like cattle fairs running full steam. There are goats, sheep, cows and camels spread out and people haggling over them. The smell of cattle hits your nostrils way before you actually see the animals and then before you know it, you are passing through a sea of animals waiting for death. Over the years this smell of cattle has become the smell of death for me.

As a child of maybe ten or so I remember sneaking out to watching a sacrifice after being specifically instructed by my parents not to. I watched horror struck and ran back in shocked and terrified by what I had seen. It wasn’t the death I think that scared me, it was the slow death, the struggle and the fact that someone would take a life so easily.

Some years later my parents went through the whole ritual of a sacrifice. They brought in a goat, fed and kept it for a year and then sacrificed it. I went through those emotions of horror again, only this time it was heightened by emotional attachment. That if I remember right, it was the last time my parents did a sacrifice at home. (Now they do it in other ways)

Fast forward to now. Over the last 4 years I’ve been feeding my dogs raw meat. What that means in that I go to the meat and chicken shop and buy the meat. I haven’t watched a cow being slaughtered but I have watched tons of chicken being killed. After all these years I had thought that I had been toughened, that the slaughter wouldn’t horrify me anymore.

But that ride through the cattle filled street shook me up. I was all teary eyed by the time I got to the end of the stretch. The thought of what awaited those animals filled me with pain and sorrow.

Let me get something straight: I am a non-vegetarian and I eat almost every kind of meat and all of this seeing and feeling is not going to make me a vegetarian. It’s not the killing of a few goats or cows or chicken that has me upset. It’s the sheer numbers that will be slaughtered on Eid that shakes me. The numbers will across a million easily across the world.

That’s a million lives taken on one day. It’s a mass murder. And most of this meat will be wasted, or put away into storage, it will not be consumed immediately. So we aren’t killing for food but rather killing for religion, killing for what we believe in.

How is that different from what the Nazi’s did or what the jihad groups and militant groups doing? Or does the fact that they are not human lives make it ok?

I don’t have the answers and I’m still all jumbled and confused in my head and heart about Bakri Eid. I don’t know, I just don’t know whether to rejoice or drown in sorrow, I don’t know…

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