Rooted in gypsy community, there is more than just a thing or two that circus can teach us about the way we live and work. Yes, my experiences with circus may have been with an award-winning contemporary circus company, but behind the veil of cutting edge aesthetics and performance, exists a parallel universe imbedded with the cultures of traditional circus. A world that operates on a completely different set of rules.
As with around 600 hundred other Palestinians, a six-month "administrative detention" order has been served on Abu Sakha by the Israeli military. With these scandalously unjust orders, no reason needs to be given and lawyers for those held have no real means of contesting the rulings which can be based on secret evidence. In Abu Sakha's case, the Israeli military have been quoted as saying the circus trainer poses a "danger ... to the security of the region". So that's supposed to be that.
An earlier 18-month study by animal behavourist Dr Marthe Kiley-Worthington found circus animals suffer no stress during performance, training or transportation. Kiley-Worthington found circus training methods to be no harsher than those in riding stables, kennels or other animal husbandry environment...
In an increasingly sanitised and digitalised age, the interaction of trainer and animal in the sawdust circle provides something real and raw that no other form of entertainment can offer. Rather than demeaning animals, it impresses all ages with their skill and intelligence, and enhances our relationship with nature.
That little is known about circus training is unsurprising - a magician doesn't spoil his illusions with a banal explanation. But the secrecy of the circus community has fuelled suspicion of cruelty. It's human nature to distrust those who live differently from us and to apply sinister connotations to things we don't understand.