It was the sadness in the eyes of the camels that touched my heart. The innocence and helplessness expressed through their eyes suggested that they had come to terms with the treatment being offered to them. They seemed to have come to terms with their fate, which was predetermined by human beings.
They did not have a voice. Their primary goal in life was, against their will I believe, to please and entertain human beings. Locals and tourists. Mainly families that looked to experience something exotic and fun.
On a warm afternoon in December, we were among those families visiting a camel park located in Adeje in Tenerife. The children were excited to experience something new before returning home in the northern of Europe. To ride on a camel was on top of the list. When I heard about the tour, some familiar images appeared in my mind almost immediatley – a line of camels walking slowly and peacefully in Sahara Desert. It was all very harmonious. Bathed in the glorious sunlight, the camels looked at me with their kind and innocent eyes, which reminded me of the gentleness I often found in cows and horses.
(Images from Blaine Harrington III)
When I eventually stood here, my eyes meeting theirs, I saw the pain and despair in their eyes. They were so quiet. Their mouths were chained in such a way that they wouldn’t make noice. I dearly wished that I possessed some superpower so I could save them and bring them back to where they belonged to. Sahara Desert.
I walked towards one of the camels that was sitting on the ground with a heavy metal seat on his back. He heard my steps and turned his face to me. His grimly stare struck me. Unable to provide him with any comfort or hope, I felt powerless. Like all the people who had been here before me, I, too, disappointed him. I recorded this sad moment and share it here. The only thing I could manage. But would it make any difference?
The children must have noticed my silence, or they too must have noticed the miserable life of the camels. None of them wanted to have a ride. We sat at a table and had some drink. We did not talk. The sun was still shinning brightly, the sky clear-blue, nothing seemed to have changed. It was just that the excitement was replaced by an unutterable sadness.
Following the crowd, we walked though the park to reach the parking lot. I turned my head to the camels for the last time. None of them noticed my movement this time. Some were chowing the leaves, slowly and peacefully. May God bless you all.
(Photos taken in Adeje, Tenerife 30 December 2017)