Nope, this is not a philosophical post. This is instead a post wherein I throw a bone to all of the people who demanded that I post my travel photos. Here's a small sample, then. The theme is animals, either about to die or already dead or having profited from death. Below the fold, then:
These first two photographs were taken the night of the first day of Eid ul-Adha in Karachi (Islamic calendar days start at sundown). Most of these animals would be dead by morning, and some of them would even be breakfast. They were all in the front yard of one of my uncles' homes, being held for several households, actually. It isn't called the Feast of Sacrifice for nothing. (All of them photos are Flickr links.)
A random brown goat.
A white goat lying down, eating out of a bowl. The food is redundant because it will likely hardly have time to digest it before its entrails are removed. The visible part of the goat looks amusingly like a dog to me, if you think of the floppy ears are mutant front paws.
These goats survived until the morning, and I believe they were saved for the next morning. (It's still an Eid ul-Adha sacrifice if it's done within the three Islamic days, believe.) If I had turned the camera around, you would have witnessed a goat morgue. The massacre happened at dawn, and this is midmorning. I did take a picture of the rows of dead goats, but I'm sparing you that. Apparently, these goats just placidly sat through the whole thing. Goats are wise, because there's no point in arguing. They're all gonna die.
This is a cat on the sidewalk in front of my aunt's home. Karachi has a lot of stray cats, and Eid ul-Adha is a windfall day for them, since the parts that humans don't eat are left on the curb for the city sanitation services, who miraculously (and unusually) rose to the occasion and had the streets cleaned of offal in a couple of days. Well, even they can notice the smell. But the cats get to some of it first. I am assuming that its posture and expression is one of contentment, and it was too full to run away from scrutiny as most of the stray cats tend to do.
Thus 1.5 million livestock animals perished that morning, according to the newspapers in Karachi. Karachi is actually quite modern and progressive for a chaotic and sometimes violent megalometropolis in a developing country with a conservative religious background. You can get most of what you find in Toronto in Karachi quite easily, given money of course, but usually it's cheaper there. But at Eid ul-Adha, it is at its most foreign to Westerners, what with all the public sacrificing and rivulets of animal blood pouring down streets. Do people know that the animals suffer? Of course! Do they care? You'd get blank looks if you asked that, and some of the more knowledgeable people would nod knowingly, chalking it up to funny Western squeamishness. A tough crowd for a PETA activist, to be sure. (And yes, I witnessed a sacrifice in progress. One.)
And now for something completely different: the buried skeleton of a quite a large turtle in the sand at the beach in Madras/Chennai, which is a very beautiful beach on the Bay of Bengal. We didn't spend a lot of time at the beach, just a few minutes, but we accidentally encountered this interesting find:
I'll eventually get around to posting less morbid photos (I took hundreds), but the thing is, most of those contain the visages of family members, so they can't be posted. I do have a few photos that might qualify though.