Falconry is a time-honored tradition in the Gulf, but like more recent sports such as race-car driving and rugby, it is a male-dominated sport. So when the Katara cultural village in Qatar recently announced the launch of the world’s first female falconry association, both men and women issued ridiculed the move.Women and hunting don’t go together
HE Sheikh Joan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is hosting the 3rd Qatar International Falconry and Hunting celebrations at the Sabkha Marmi Sealine in Doha, Qatar. Festivities conclude tomorrow, but not without a controversial bang.
Today Katara formally announced the inauguration of the new all-women venture, which will include conferences and competitions designed at preserving the country’s falconry heritage.
But many people argue that women and hunting don’t go together and never have, Gulf News reports.
Against the grain of tradition
“This is against our traditions, and engaging in this exclusively male sport will make people scoff at us,” a Facebook user wrote, quoted by Al Rayah – an Arabic daily in Qatar. “It is a waste of public funds and our women are going to behave like men,” said another.
These protests came in response to the idea that in order to engage in falconry, women would have to spend days in the desert (instead of the kitchen?)
Hessa Al Meftah, the head of public relations at the Qatar Foundation for the Protection of Women and Children, told the paper that creating a female falconry association is “laughable.” “It has always been known since time immemorial that falconry is for men only,” she told Al Rayah.
“Our grandmothers have been involved with men in almost everything, but history does not record a single case of a woman engaged in falconry,” she added.
Women have better things to do
Social activist Leena Al Dafie told the daily that women have better interests than falconry and that more time should be spent protecting Qatar’s society and traditions.
Our own Green Sheikh recently honored the United Arab Emirates’ former president Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan who loved falconry for the role it played in his country’s rich cultural history. Can this legacy – traced to ancient Bedouins who relied on the birds of prey to help them hunt – withstand the introduction of women?
:: Gulf News
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