Corrida in Baghdad!
Every Summer Spanish
cities put up a strange kind of sport called Corrida in which
a large number of bulls are let loose in the streets chasing
a large crowd of young men running before them. The bulls
mean no harm and would only attack people who interfere with
them. I was reminded of a similar incident that I experienced
in Baghdad eighty years ago, when I read an article about
it in an Arabic book "Baghdad in the Twenties" by
In 1921 King Feisal
newly installed as King of Iraq was living in temporary accommodation
in the Saray of Baghdad when Jewish schools sent their boy
scouts in their hundreds to offer greeting to the King.
At the same time
a buffalo cow was providing milk for the Royal residence and
run amok at the noise of the singing and clapping of the children,
who in turn became frightened. There was pandemonium when
the children and their masters started fleeing in all directions.
I noticed Albert Heskel Basri, a relative older than me who
protected me until order was restored when the buffalo was
year Feisal moved to the refurbished country house of Shaoul
Shashoua on the road to Adhamiya which became the Royal Palace
for the next ten years where he stayed untill 1927 when the
whole estate was flooded by the River Tigris, and the King
had to move again to another Jewish estate, that of Senator
Menahem Daniel near the South Gate of Baghdad!
I remember making a similar visit in 1923 in the company of
all the Jewish boy scouts to pay homage to the King in his
In 1924 I attended
a Boy Scout Jamboree in the Qushla in the company of my grandfather
who was Chief Rabbi. We were seated in the front row, a few
seats away from the King.
The reason why
I am against bull fighting is that when the bulls appear in
the arena, they are not in a fighting mood; they think they
are going to play a game. After repeated provocations and
stabbings, they fall down feeling cheated. Apart from cruelty
to animals, bullfighting is not an honest sport.
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