AUBites - Nowruz

As I know from my Kurdish and Iranian friends, there is a holiday that they celebrate called Nowruz which is the new year and it happens every year on spring. One of the elements that they use to celebrate is goldfish, which is to resemble life within life (fish in water)

I thought of why not show this within my comic noting that the only animals allowed in dorms are Goldfish and no other fish...

I had the help of my friend Mohammad Yaser Emamizadeh who is Iranian and knows mostly about Nowruz to write about it to contribute to Outlook. The article is next to the image.

Happy Nowruz everyone! سال نو مبارک

Nowruz is right around the corner and for some of us that means the special time of year, it is the new year! How can it not be? Spring has arrived and the clouds of winter have gone aside and opened the way for sunshine. The birds are chirping and nature looks greener than ever. While the earth is celebrating its rebirth, many of us also celebrate along. Nowruz is a tradition celebrated in Iran and many regions that share common cultural values such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kurds in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. It is the first day of the year according to the Iranian calendar. In this day families visit one another while wearing their new clothes, children receive gifts from their elders, and friends wish one another a happy and fruitful year. One of the famous traditions of Nowruz is setting the “Haft seen” (sevens “S”s) table. The table consists of seven items that start with the letter “Seen” (the letter S). Each item symbolizes a certain meaning. Sabzeh (sprouts) resembles rebirth, Samanu (sweet pudding) resembles wealth, Senjed (the dried fruit of oleaster tree) resembles love, Sir (garlic) resembles medicine, Sib (apple) resembles health, Somaq (sumac berries) resembles sunrise and Serkeh (vinegar) resembles patience. Other than the seven “S”s the table also includes a holy book, a book of poems, a bowl of water with a goldfish resembling life within life, a mirror which resembles cleanness and honesty, decorated eggs symbolizing fertility, candles resembling enlightenment and happiness, and my personal favorite which is traditional Iranian nuts that just taste great! Nowruz is a beautiful, meaningful and happy day, it is the time of year families and friends have the opportunity to get closer, so Happy Nowruz to all especially the AUB society!

Outlook Comic - Mother's Day

This week's Outlook features my comic about mother's day. I really didn't know what to draw at first.

At First I started to think of drawing of the Green Toad (Bufo virdis) and its new tadpoles, but it is for mother's day! I can't discriminate mother's day with toads. So I started to doodle, and I came up with the top heads of the creature and it sorta looked like a Chimera so I continued the rest of its body and made a dialogue about how I love my mother and celebrating mother's day.

So yeah I do love my mother! (very very much)

AUBites - Wildlife Protection vs Animal Rights

Last week's issue of Outlook featured two pieces about animals. An article about creating a law that protects animals under the school of animal rights, and this comic below.

One of the things I get constantly is,: "But you love animals!!!!"

Here's the thing, I as a person with a deep background in Zoology living in Lebanon know of what is exactly the purpose of the passing the law of protecting animals as in them having rights. The main purpose is to protect feral cats and dogs found in the city. There is no intention what so ever towards any wildlife. What people don't know is that these feral cats and dogs do much damage to native animals more than good, protecting the ferals is crushing any last hope for protecting native animals.

Now you might say that protecting animals would protect the native animals. But not many know that there a species of wild cats in Lebanon which is the jungle/swamp cat (Felis chaus) which has suffered dramatically by cross breeding with the feral cat (Felis domesticus). Also golden jackals (Canis aureus), Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes), Arabian wolf (Canis lupus arabs) are all under threat from cross breading with feral dogs. This is not to mention all the other animals that are the weaker links of the food chain creating competition to other native species. Overall, they are just pieces of destruction to the overall biodiversity of the Lebanese ecosystem.

Something else which is very important that people sadly prefer to help animals over people. Millions people suffer from injustice, illnesses, and other problems. Yet they still want to help the mutts that roam through the garbages. When will they ever get the human sense of that there is a priority to life, why not help the orphans in orphanages or the elderly? And still they say that they can stop over-population of cats and dogs by neutering them... All the money they spend to neuter a cat can be used to support families.

If it came to me, I'd kill all feral cats and dogs, and use their meat to feed gulper sharks (Centrophorus granulosus), arabian wolves (Canis lupus arabs), and striped hyenas (Hyaena hyaena) which are all endangered species and create a program or support an existing program to promote wildlife and work on that.