An “actress” performing at the Arab Cultural Center in Brussels ran up against the law for her odd public antics between shows. Belgian police demanded she be forcibly removed from the theater’s street-facing balcony where she’d been unwinding with a bucket of water and stack of fresh hay.
Lola, a scene-stealing donkey, is performing in a play called “The Palestinian” at the Arab Cultural Center. Between acts, her handler moved her to an outdoor perch to rest and enjoy some fresh air, but police ordered her moved indoors after receiving complaints about her braying.
Here in Amman, animals integrate into urban life with nary a nod from their human neighbors. Flocks of sheep graze on grass verges along major city streets; goats huddle on a field precipitously near the entrance to a new mall’s underground garage.
I buy my camel milk from a herd kept along the airport highway; and at a barbecue with friends in Jabal al Webdieh (one of the oldest and densest neighborhoods in town), our conversation competed with the moos of a cow giving birth in the adjacent garden. You get used to it, it’s the new normal. So why are the Belgians so uptight?
Despite police demands, local newspapers reported that Lola continued to chew the scenery with her controversial balcony scene, and the center’s director was angrily chewing out her neighbors for interfering.
“I say to the neighbors, well done. What does it matter to you?” Hawa Djabili shouted to reporters. Asked why the donkey was out, she replied Lola “needed to breathe.”
A spokesman for the Brussels police said animal welfare officers would be dispatched to remove Lola if the center didn’t comply with the order to keep the donkey indoors.
Pressed for comment, Lola said she didn’t intend to disturb the local community, or distract from the theater production, which depicts two thousand years of history through the view of a Palestinian woman. She added, “I feel like such as ass.”
Image of Lola from Arab News