The Beirut parrot that whistles like the sound of grenades
The story of Nabil, Lebanese, remember that animal so unique, lost during the war
I met Nabil recently, he is a researcher in Milan and is a bit ‘because of work commitments, a bit’ for Expo, a little ‘just to Milan. It is in Beirut and lived in that city until his graduation. It tells me that the day he decided to go away and get lost in the world, it was with the bitter smile of someone who leaves a place he loves, but without regret. He was returning from lunch and faculty meeting a classmate he stopped briefly to talk on the way to the university. Seconds later dropped a bomb that killed the girl and saved instead Nabil.
Before he left, he tells me that he went to greet his father out of Beirut in the country house that her family had always had and where it was withdrawn some time out from the chaos and constant bombing. He entered the house the first to welcome him was’ the family parrot, and welcomes him as always welcomed him since they had found to return home on the road from Beirut: the whistling of the bombs.
I mean that this parrot whistles simulating the whine of the bomb on arrival and then emits a loud noise and crackling, that of ‘explosion. Describes him as a parrot from gray and brown plumage, “African,” he says, and tells how his father with the car full of household items and furniture was driving out from Beirut and stopped in a park along the way he found this parrot flitting over his car.
I was reminded of a familiar story, of the “Coco”, the parrot of ‘Hotel Commodore in West Beirut. In 1987 the hotel was sacked and destroyed by Muslim militias, and that parrot who could simulate the hiss of grenades or who, they say, knew whistle the Marseillaise, is lost in the war. The Commodore hotel, frequented by international journalists, whose parrot was so famous in the memories of those who frequented the hotel that the British journalist Chris Drake offered a reward, $ 100 to whoever finds him.
Nabil The description seems to coincide with what the newspapers report of 1987 says that the parrot is still alive and well and welcome anyone who comes in his father’s house with whistle grenades.
I have no idea whether it is really the same specimen or if, as sadly can happen, some other parrot has learned to recognize and to produce the most recurrent war sounds in that land, but if he were, it would be an incredible story.