Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Young Max: Soon to be a Moroccan Classic

Like most Cats Of Mystery, I take great pains to conceal my true identity so that I might wander the streets of Agdal anonymously and unhindered in order to distribute kitty food to the city's scrawnier felines. Nonetheless, there are a handful of you in the city who can place face to name, and one of you has broken your code of silence by asking me to blog about an incident which I had recently relayed to her. I normally don't accept "requests" but that has more to do with the fact that no one knows who I am rather than any sort of high blog-groundism on my part. I am, after all, a Cat of Mystery.

A colleague of mine teaches young children, pre-teens. A few weeks ago, in a class about emotions, one girl raised her hand to say that she had something to be happy about, that her parents had just given her a new puppy. She had named it Max - a pretty groovy name for a Moroccan pup.

*Sigh* Yes, this is a dog story and I bet you know already that it isn't going to have a happy ending. If, like me, you were traumatized by Old Yeller as a child, I suggest you stop reading now and go here. You have been warned.

To resume our story of horror. Last Saturday, my colleague noticed that the once ebullient little girl was rather glum and had not participated in class all morning. She asked the little girl if everything was okay, and the child responded with this tale of woe (I warned you):

Max was dead. (I warned you). The little girl's grandfather had visited the previous week and the Evil Grandfather (as he will now be known) doesn't like dogs. The fact that Evil Grandfather doesn't live with the family and visits sporadically is inconsequential. Evil Grandfather simply doesn't like dogs. So Evil Grandfather took Max and dragged him out into the street and anchored the pup's leash to the road with a rock. Evil Grandfather returned to the house and compelled the little girl to look out the window and watch as a passing car struck and killed the dog. (I warned you).

In the arcadian fairytale kingdom that I live in (where people are intrinsically good), I'd like to think that the driver of the car that ultimately hit Max swerved to avoid him. Of course, people like the Evil Grandfather would have long been banished from my realm, making this entire paragraph moot.

So as the little girl sobbed and heaved and convulsed to her story's conclusion (with the teacher generously matching her tear for tear), a classmate of hers broke out into peels of laughter. Perhaps the beastly boy thought that she was on the cusp of a punchline or perhaps he's as evil (albeit in a shortened condensed form) as the Evil Grandfather. The teacher erred on the side of caution by accepting the situation's most logical interpretation and tore the Mother of all Strips off the loathsome child for his callousness and insensitivity.

I don't mind telling you that I was bawling by the end of this tale. This was like Old Yeller and The Yearling all rolled into one horrible flashback in which, as a child, I realized that I would never understand a grown-up's world.

As a Cat of Mystery, I guess I'll have to keep one eye on Agdal's roads for condemned pups on my nightly rounds. As if I didn't have enough to worry about. This winter's kittens are just weeks away from going into heat themselves.

Alas, there is no happy ending to this story (I warned you) unless I can sell the movie rights for "Young Max" to Disney and finally make my fortune. Since that's rather unlikely, the only thing we can hope for is that Evil Grandfather will live to a long ripe age and when the little girl is all grown up, she'll drag Evil Grandfather out into the street and anchor his jellaba down with a rock. Then, behind the wheel of her Fiat, she'll gun the engine and just as she lets loose on grandpa cries out, "This one's for you Max!"


Blogger taamarbuuta said...

That is so horrifying and sad. I've heard some awful pet stories in Morocco but that one takes the cake.

(in lighter news, my friend Mehdi's cat just had kittens and they've all found good homes. i wanted one but my husband finds our 2 to be more than enough)

2:15 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

Evil doesn't describe the grandfather.

I mean, hating dogs and committing attrocities is horrid enough, but why, oh why torture the child by forcing her to watch?

I'm truly dumbfounded. I can't believe humans can be that mean.

I'm against the death penalty, but this guy really tests me on that one...

5:33 p.m.  
Anonymous Liosliath said...

I think you should find out where the girl lives, watch for the grandfather to appear, and then sort of trip him so he falls in front of traffic.

9:27 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Perhaps we should inaugurate February 13th as "Hug A Dog Day". Wouldn't do much in the grand scheme of things but maybe make us feel better.

10:44 p.m.  
Anonymous Aimee said...

This breaks my heart. It's so unimaginable to me that the rest of the family just let him do this. If someone ever tried to hurt my dog, (this one's for you L), I'd have to stab him.

11:35 p.m.  
Blogger FourSure said...

That is disgusting. Terrible and disgusting. I read your blog last night in my kitchen with my darling new 4 legged baby - Rufus Jake - gnawing my chair so I did give him a hug at the end. Ptooey on that grandfather! That poor girl has to live with that in her life now.

Please - no more reader requests of this nature - I'm making this request as a reader!

1:30 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

I've been thinking:

While I'm against the death penalty, this old man needs an appropriate punishment for his deed. I'd suggest tying him to the ground, smearing liver or raw meat all over his body, and unleashing about 1/2 dozen dogs on him to do as they please...

10:16 p.m.  
Anonymous Liosliath said...

I'm glad to see that the Cult of Stabbing is spreading - but I loooove Knarf's idea!

I don't have a dog around to hug, so I just hugged both of my cats.

3:38 a.m.  
Anonymous fouad said...

OK. For a minute I wondered if the horrifying story was real or fictional. I've lived in Morocco until I was 26 so I was aware of cruelty against animals being very spread in the country. But to me such an act of sadism was unheard of. Evil grandfather, well found name to describe such a person capable of such an act. But besides the facts being reported what stroke me most is the fact that it's the grandfather, a person that dosen't even live in the house where the dog was, that committed this inhumane cruelty. This raises the question of the authority of the elders in a traditional society such as the moroccan one and how we all (like the little the girl and her family, father and mother) had and still have to endure their invasion of other's privacy and put up with their moody behaviour. And all this in the name of the respect due to the elderly. Don't get me wrong I'm all for respecting the elders and I love to learn from their wisdom (provided they have one). And for this I thank God our society, unlike western ones, still respect and make space to the elders. But my question is why some of them (a lot of them) have to assert and affirm their role and existence only through ignorant stupid privacy invading oppressing and offending decisions and sometimes sadistic acts? I have some answers but I would like read what all of you think of this.

12:57 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Fouad: Thanks for your comments. The teacher in question has over 30 years experience and I suspect that her bullshit meter is pretty finely tuned. I believe the story.

What I find the most reprehensible is that the parents - assuming that they were home at the time - allowed this to happen.

1:46 p.m.  
Anonymous ByronB said...


3:21 p.m.  
Anonymous fouad said...

You're welcome Cat, it's a pleasure to comment on your posts.
Now as a followup to your last comment about the parents and would they have allowed this to happen were they there, I'm not sure they would have. See this is exacltly my point, the question is would the parents have been able to stand up to the grandfather. Maybe they would have but maybe not. It's not that easy to stand up to a father or a mother even if you're an adult in our society. The respect we owe our parents as our religion (oh i'm assuming everyone here is moslim)asks us to do is transformed by them to power and therefore they start abusing it whether knowingly or not.

3:51 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the insight, Fouad. That may help explain why one of my friends won't say anything bad about his father, even though he was terribly abusive to his mother, brothers and him.

4:16 p.m.  
Anonymous myrtus said...

Oh that's just awful! Rips my heart out (again). How can people be so evil! My uncle gave me a little pup when I was seven. He named it Johnny after his favorite drink (Johnny Walker). A couple of years later we moved from Morocco to Holland and left my dog with my aunt. Not long after that I got the sad news that Johnny died. ): I was told he died of heartbreak because he missed us. Of course I believed it as little kid. I found out only recently about what really happened to him. My sister told me that he acually was shot and killed by an evil neighbor of ours, but no one had the nerve to tell me the truth.

3:12 a.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Myrtus - how sad! I hope your old neighbours got their just reward.

5:28 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Fouad:

This isn't the first time I've heard of stories like this one - a friend of mine, Nada told me a doozy - usually her family would eat at other family members' houses for L'Aid al-Kabir, which meant she didn't see the slaughter of the sheep. One year, however, her father bought a sheep so they could do it at home. Like many Moroccans, he brought the animal home a few days before the festival - so Nada (who was 10 at the time) fell in love with the sheep and begged her father not to kill it.

Her father agreed not to, and they kept the sheep for quite some time, until one weekend when her uncle (her father's eldest brother) was visiting. Nada came inside for lunch one afternoon, and after eating quite a bit, her uncle told her that their lunch was her friend, the spared sheep.

Needless to say, Nada is now one of the only Moroccan vegetarians I know.

2:51 p.m.  
Anonymous fouad said...

Hi Everyone
To Anonyme:
Thanks for following on this topic. I would have loved to get input from others going beyond the cruelty to animals stories and try to understand and maybe do something about the motivations or at least the reasons behind such behaviors from "the elders". The last example you cited anonyme about the uncle shows plain sadism. But the question remains why? What I'm trying to say here is that there is a pattern of "abuse of power" through cruel acts and that if animals are victims to it, the humans (children and adults alike) are the ones really targeted through it.

8:44 a.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Why do people abuse animals & children? I suppose for many reasons. Kids are often cruel to animals out of a need to withstand peer pressure, to appear tough. As a girl I watched in horror as many a boy affixed a fly to an eraser with a pin, then pulled its wings & legs off. Are they now sadists and child molesters? - probably not. I suppose they grew out of it. At least I hope so.

Adults are a different story - I suspect that power & control are their chief motivators. Perhaps Evil Grandfather felt that he had to reassert his primacy of place in the family (including a small granddaughter who is more modern than traditional) by killing the dog. Both children and animals are voiceless victims (although they are acquiring a louder voice in some parts of the world) so these cretins can get away with their crimes. Clearly they have deep-seated psychological issues.

Remember: shit rolls down hill.

12:23 p.m.  

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