ID Card Chapter 12 (An occasional series.)

Observations on Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)

Feast of the Sacrifice and I do not know who sacrifices more, the slaughterer or the slaughtered. I can tell that those who cannot afford to slaughter, are better off than the one being slaughtered but worse off than then their more prosperous cousins.  But for richer or poorer, on the day which they are all spruced up and in their glamorous best, in the eyes of their country they are as invisible as air. Not even one lousy greetings in the press. [Israeli newspapers carry pages upon pages of holiday greetings from companies and institutions on the eve of Jewish holidays.]

My young Adam, wearing his holiday best, is slouching in front of the TV which is tuned to the children channel on Hop, as is his normal custom. And the channel also follows its custom by maintaining regular programming.  I’m not one of those celebrating, but it does seem odd that the kid has just about memorised the songs  associated with Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, Passover and God knows what, but his own Feast of the Sacrifice is not represented. His primary identity, expressed through his clothes on this special day, is completely absent.  And I wonder: What is he supposed to make of that.

And before I delve into it any deeper and get myself into trouble, I cut off that that train of thoughts and pick up the phone  to call the Safari information hotline, and lo and behold something wonderful: There’s a recorded message: “The Safari Management sends its best wishes to Muslim  community on the occasion of Eid al-Adha”. It was so simple, so easy that one just cannot understand why this is so impossible to replicate in the bleak reality of our lives.

A friend join me and together with the kids we made a bee line for the safari. As one of my friends remarked, whoever did not make the pilgrimage to Mecca for the holiday, made the pilgrimage to the Safari instead. Indeed, it seemed as if like half the Arabs were there. And they all looked bright and beautiful and sparkling in their holiday best. Taking a break from the humdrum of life. And on the way out we all got jammed together in the human traffic:  Arabs and Jews, Muslims and Christians, women and men, as well as those who do not like to be defined by their nationality, religion, race or gender. We all got stuck together among the ostriches and rhinos, zebras and gazelles. And the human traffic jam remained all plugged-up, but nobody squabbled. The tranquillity of those who have no desire to rush back to return to the hustle and bustle of ordinary life.

And outside the giant banner that greeted the revellers kept on flattering: The Safari Management offers its best wishes to the Muslim community in the occasion of Eid al-Adha. So simple, so easy.


About Asma Aghbaria Zahalka