Nightjars here, much as in England. Female donkey today, very heavily in foal, carrying respectable load of wood, & its master. Load something over 200lb., plus the foal.
The Spahis ride stallions. Arab saddles, but not blinkers. Horses of different colours. Donkeys here, when male, are always uncastrated.
Some Brits remain obsessed with the welfare of donkeys in the Mediterranean world down to the present, much more so than the welfare of humans. Orwell seems curiously incurious about the people, compared to how many of his entries discuss flora and fauna. Is this an example of the occlusions of colonialist literature that make the colonized more or less part of the background (see Said’s Culture & Imperialism, especially Chapter 2)? Perhaps, but he didn’t write much about the people when he was back in dear ol’ Blighty, either. Thoughts, comrade readers?
I would say it is a way of judging people. How a working man treats his animal says something about that man. Just as how the land owner treats the farmer, how the factory owner treats the machinist, even how the slave owner treats his slave.
These observations must influence his view of people.
I agree with Luke that his comments on the overloaded donkey show his opinion of the owner. Some of his other entries show sympathy for the extremely poor people — the man begging for a piece of bread that Orwell was feeding to the birds, and the children mobbing the boy who had been given small change for calling a cab.
I am not convinced that this was your way of judging people. Taken as a whole, your mind-boggling blog has been a delicious menu of objective observations. I think you left the judgments to us.
Last september 27 in Marrakech Orwell told us a lot about Moroccan society.
Each day is not a red letter day. Often, when a novalist don’t write, he is thinking about text to come later. Be patient.
North African aera is not familiar for american and english people. Orwell was really quick to the uptake and test the water with wisdom but few words about.
With his diary, he is talking to himself and don’t waste time to explain what he already knew.
I believe ofen he was writing as we write a postcard :
I am there ; that is the weather; landscape; animals
Just like marks for him to remember later a lot of things.
@ Gilles, you’re right… George used to take notes before writing his final text…
I did ride a donkey for about 2kms to the oasis of Tiout village where Fernandel shot “Ali Baba&the 40 thieves”; quite an experience, it cost 2 euros and I had a back pain for 3 days!!!
I am surprised that none of the prior commenters noted that Orwell addressed this issue in his essay Marrakech, published in 1939. However, he spoke of it in a far more subtle fashion—he wrote that Europeans noted mistreated donkeys almost immediately, but that people of color were invisible to them. And he, of course, linked the mistreatment of the animals to the far worse mistreatment of the poor. The esay incorporated the experiences he noted in the diary.
perhaps in his mind the plight of the donkeys was all too similar to that of the colonial proletariat…
I think these comment threads are extraordinary.
Look around. Right now. What do you see?
nightjars are some spooky birds, i tell you.
Yes, the Caprimulgus may very well have “repetitive and often mechanical songs”, Impressionist color-schemes and dozens of sub-genera, but that is small consolation for the hapless goats when a massive, sun-blocking cloud of Nightjars swarms them like a plague and sucks them dry.
Marcie – spot on – here’s the essay: http://www.george-orwell.org/Marrakech/0.html
George – you see how even your minor observations spur great conversation?
very nice and interesting
Ed – Thanks for the essay! It shows how Orwell was using all those diary entries and was interesting and moving as well. I’ll be rereading it.