Saturday, 22 March 2014

"Djuha Fries Quails"

Continuing with the charming oral anecdotes that have been documented in Inea Bushnaq's Arab Folktales, "Djuha Fries Quails" offers itself to multiple interpretations and acts as an example of how old wisdom lends itself as useful advice in modern warfare.

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      This folktale is an alternative to the common idiom ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’. This particular folktale acts as a metaphor for how the interference of others results in chaos. The message can extend itself to become a political one and it makes itself applicable to current affairs in the Middle East. The interference of other governments within the Middle East has caused turmoil. The quails in “Djuha Fries Quails” are the main part of the meal yet they are spoiled by Djuha’s companions. Djuha's visitors criticise the quails and suggest betterment, not realising that now there is nothing to improve as the quails have been eaten. Their actions are reminiscent of those politicians claiming that Afghanistan, Iraq and so on need improving and interference. Only, the result tends to be ruining what was good about those places, specifically the fertile lands and their resources.
     Bushra Ali Ahmed, director of the Radiation Protection Centre in Baghdad, told The Guardian: "We can no longer in good conscience call ourselves the land between the rivers, [...]That water which is used for agriculture is often contaminated. We are in the midst of an unmatched environmental disaster". She continued explaining that a "big problem for [them] is when [...] a tank has been destroyed and then moved, [they] are finding a clear radiation trail. It takes a while to decontaminate these sites." This article provides examples of how war has necessitated the use of tanks and weapons which destroy the land and long term living circumstances, just as in the folktale unwanted actions result in undoable situations.

Bushnaq, Inea “Djuha Fries Quails”, Arab Folktales, New York: Pantheon Books, 1986. Print.

Chulov, Martin. Iraq Littered With High Levels of Nuclear and Dioxin Contamination, Study Finds. The Guardian.January 22 2010. Web. <> 20/3/2014

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