A donkey's Christmas journey on the BBC

Christmas stamps issued 2008

I was finishing dinner earlier today, quietly listening to BBC World, when I suddenly pricked my ears. I’d just heard the magical word : donkey ! What had BBC World to tell about donkeys?

Well, as it happens, one of the BBC’s correspondents, Aleem Maqbool, has just set out to retrace the 150 km long journey made by Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem according to the New Testament and he departed today from Nazareth, with his donkey - a lovely girl called Cynthia. And how nice… he arranged to meet her for the first time at a place just beside the Church of the Annunciation.

Aleem said "Cynthia seems to be a bit scared by the trafic", which wouldn’t have been as busy I suppose 2008 years ago. "I’m not too sure she really enjoys the rope tied around her neck to lead her, but this is how things would have been for most early christian era donkeys." I’m confident Aleem has explained it all to her and that being fully aware this is a historical re-enactment of some kind, she understands the importance of having as much historical accuracy as possible and will bear the rope with pride and dignity.

Anyway, this is bound to be a fantastic experience. Hopefully Aleem and Cynthia will get through all potential obstacles… after all, this is still, sadly, a conflict zone.

You can follow Aleem and Cynthia’s journey on the BBC World website as Aleem will be keeping a diary.

By the way Aleem, could you ask Cynthia to write her own diary for her long-eared fellows at the Donkey Sanctuary?