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The General, the Shepherd and the Incredible Greed for Money
In 1917, the English General Stanley Maude was in an Arab area and met a sheep shepherd with his dog. The general asked the interpreter to tell the shepherd:
‘The general will give you a pound if you slaughter the dog you have!’
The dog represents something important to the shepherd because it guards the herd from wolves, helps the shepherd with herding the sheep and lets him know when there is danger nearby. The dog is the shepherd’s best friend, but the pound could have bought half of his herd, so the shepherd agreed. He grabbed his dog and slaughtered it in front of the general.
The interpreter told the shepherd that the general would give him another pound in exchange for skinning the dog. The shepherd took the pound and did just that. Then, the interpreter said to the shepherd:
‘He will give you another pound if you cut it into pieces.’
The shepherd butchered the dead dog into tiny pieces! And the general gave him the pound and started walking away. The shepherd ran after the general and said:
‘Will you give me another pound, if I eat it?’
The general answered through the interpreter:
‘I just wanted to know your nature and character. You slaughtered and cut up your best friend and companion for 3 pounds and you were ready to eat it for a fourth pound… This is all I needed to know.’
And then he turned to his soldiers and told them that if such is the dominant mentality of the locals, then they would have nothing to fear and their goals would be easily reached…
This story shows us that a large number of people in every society are willing to do anything for money… and this is used by governing forces to subjugate citizens, people, and nations under their powerful yoke.
Story based on an excerpt from Hayder al-Khoei and Ali al-Wardi’s book Social Glimpses of Modern Iraqi History, published in 2010.