Pigeon racing in Aden [Archives:2004/739/Culture]

May 20 2004

By Mohammad Saeed Al-Mekhlafi
Yemen Times Staff

The phenomenon of Zajel pigeons racing is prominent. International races for pigeons are held in different countries around the world. The most famous of them is in Barcelona, where large amounts of money are paid for the winning pigeons, reaching up to one million dollars.
In Yemen, the first “Zajel” pigeons society was established in Aden on 16th April 2004. Student Helmi Salman Ahmed, Faculty of Education, English Department of Aden University, is the source of the idea of establishing such a society. It is known that “Zajel” pigeons provide humans many services, in both peace and war. In peace for example, pigeons helped people in Egypt when they suffer drought. When the Pharoah heard that there was a lot of corn at Syria, then he sent 100 pigeons with his massager to Syria, who placed on the pigeons' legs two seeds for each pigeon, that is 200 seeds. Then he released the pigeons and when the pigeons came back to Egypt the corn was planted and helped Egypt to recover from the drought.
Once, one ship's engine stopped in the ocean, and they had no any communications with the control center or anyone to help them. Fortunately, one boy among the people on the ship had one Zajel pigeon. They wrote a message and sent it with the pigeon and it reached its home, where the man who trained it found the message and told the appropriate authorities the location of the ship was saved, allowing it to be saved.
In war, on the other hand, the Zajel pigeons were used to carry very secret messages to the military bases, in which the enemy's situation and his locations were explained. There are many other examples of the help that Zajel offered to humans, and what is mentioned here is a drop in an ocean of Zajel services. We have to thank Dr. Yahya Al- Shaibee, Governor of Aden, for his approval of the establishment of this society, hoping honest people will offer needed facilities to raise this project, which is unique in Yemen, and hope they give the project good stimulation and care.