A tribute to the Saluki — more than a mere dog

Updated 11 October 2018
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A tribute to the Saluki — more than a mere dog

  • "The Arabic word for dog, “kalb,” should never be used when speaking of a Saluki because “a Saluki was not a mere dog": A Saluki owner
  • The Saluki was used for falconry hunting and as a guard dog

BEIRUT: This tribute to the Saluki is long overdue. Even today, in Saudi Arabia, a Saluki is not a common sight. Many expatriates have left the Kingdom without ever catching a glimpse of this exceptionally graceful dog. 

 In the foreword to this book by Terence Clark, Alan Munro, British ambassador in Riyadh in the early 1990s, recalls how a young driver, after seeing the attractive silky head of a Saluki sitting on his passenger seat, asked: “Is that your girlfriend, mister?”

 In Saudi Arabia, ever since its domestication 5,000 years ago, the Saluki was used for falconry hunting and as a guard dog. Fast, clever, loyal and bold, Salukis are Bedouins’ best friends. They are very special, as Terence Clark discovered the day he acquired his first Saluki. He was then in Baghdad, serving as the British ambassador in Iraq. After several failed attempts, he finally obtained a travel permit and headed for the small town of Kalar in Iraqi Kurdistan to look for a Saluki. 

He was met by “the most majestic cream Saluki with a flowing, silky tail but no feathering on the ears. It was superbly built, with the prominent muscles and sinews of the coursing Saluki, and its feet were reddened with henna, which it is believed hardens the pads against damage over rough terrain,” wrote Clark.

 His proud owner insisted that the Arabic word for dog, “kalb,” should never be used when speaking of a Saluki because “a Saluki was not a mere dog.”

Abdullah Philby recalls in “The Empty Quarter” (1933) how Al-Aqfa, his Saluki, went missing but found his way back by following a set of tracks. 

“The intelligence of the desert Saluki is almost human,” he wrote. 

In “The Salukis in My Life,” described as “part-memoir, part-travelogue,” we are left with enchanting memories of traditional hunting expeditions with Salukis, but we cannot fail to notice how relevant the old Bedouin traditions are to contemporary life. It is satisfying to read about the renaissance of the Saluki breed in the Gulf region, promoted by the younger generation’s enthusiasm and passion.  


Myriam Fares apologizes to Egyptian fans after backlash

Lebanese pop superstar Myriam Fares has apologized to her Egyptian fans over comments she made at a press conference. (File: AFP)
Updated 26 min 38 sec ago
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Myriam Fares apologizes to Egyptian fans after backlash

DUBAI: Lebanese pop superstar Myriam Fares has apologized to her Egyptian fans over comments she made at a press conference for the Moroccan Mawazine Festival on Saturday.

In a press appearance before her gig at the music festival, the star was questioned by a journalist and asked why she doesn’t perform in Egypt as much as she used to.

“I will be honest with you,” she told the journalist, “I’ve grown over the years and so did the pay and my demands, so it became a bit heavy on Egypt.”

The comment triggered intense backlash on social media, with many offended Twitter users using the platform to vent.

Egyptian singer and actor Ahmed Fahmi, who starred alongside Fares in a 2014 TV show, He replied to her comments sarcastically, tweeting: “Now you are too much for Egypt. Learn from the stars of the Arab world. You will understand that you did the biggest mistake of your life with this statement.”

Then, Egyptian songwriter Amir Teima tweeted: “Most Lebanese megastars like Elissa, Nawal (El Zoghby), Nancy (Ajram), Ragheb (Alama), and the great Majida El-Roumi have performed in Egypt after the revolution. You and I both know they get paid more than you do. Don’t attack Egypt; if it’s not out of respect, do it out of wit.”

Now, Fares has replied to the comments and has blamed the misunderstanding on her Lebanese dialect, saying: “I always say in my interviews that although I started from Lebanon, I earned my stardom in Egypt. I feel sorry that my Lebanese dialect and short reply created chances for a misunderstanding.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Myriam Music (@myriammusicofficial) on

She ended her Instagram apology by saying, “Long live Egypt.”