Poem on Spanish king’s elephant killing

This video from 18 April 2012 says about itself:

Spain’s King Juan Carlos apologies for hunting trip

This is Spain’s King Juan Carlos standing proudly in front of a dead elephant on a hunting holiday in Botswana a few days ago. Critics say the holiday cost twice a Spaniard’s average annual salary.

Belgian poet Didi de Paris wrote a poem, in Dutch, about the recent killing of an African elephant by the king of Spain, while most people in Spain suffer from the Rightist government’s austerity policies.

The poem is also on the poet’s website.

My translation is here. With remarks added; and with hyperlinks added, like I usually do on this blog:


Hold on, thou who must tighten
your belts:
do not hold it against him!

Already, the price for the trip
is almost priceless
for the ordinary mortal

Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill,
or an elephant out of a gnat
– An elephant skin helps.

There is nothing wrong:
King Juan Carlos
honorary member of the World Wildlife Fund.
just went on safari
in Swaziland – Happens in the best of families.

No, in Botswana; not in Swaziland. The king making trouble there is not Juan Carlos, but Swaziland’s own king Mswati.

& He who is burdened by the weight
of the memory of an elephant

forgets the assassination
of five anarchists by the garrote,
on September 27, 1975
Burgos, Basque Country.

The five people executed by the Franco regime on September 27, 1975 were not anarchists, but members of the “Maoist” FRAP and the Basque nationalist ETA. The killing was by firing squad, not by garrote. These executions were not in the Basque Country, but in Burgos, Madrid and Barcelona.

The garrote had been used the year before, in 1974, to kill Salvador Puig Antich, who was indeed an anarchist.

forgets the assassination
in Madrid of Admiral Prime Minister
Luis Carrero Blanco

whom Franco prefered as successor to, then Prince, Juan Carlos

Oh elephants in the china shop,
forget what came then!
A transfer, like in a bankrupt
Spanish football team,
the designated substitute:
King Juan Carlos.

Everything beautifully appointed
by Generalissimo Franco

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Update: meanwhile, Didi de Paris has said on his blog that Swaziland fits better in a poem (not a report) than Botswana. “Don’t forget that a poet is a liar”.

King’s Elephant Hunt Is Disgrace to Spain, Humanity: Commentary by Mike Di Paola in the USA: here.

Meanwhile, King Juan Carlos has apologized for his elephant killing.

As I don’t know all details, I am not 100% sure how to comment on that.

At least, an apology is better than the arrogant attitude of the sons of US billionaire Donald Trump when challenged about their killing of elephants and other African wildlife.

On the other hand, public opinion would never have known about the Spanish monarch’s elephant killing, if His Majesty Juan Carlos would not have been injured on the safari. So, the apology very presumably did not originate in the king’s own brains, but was a reaction to the storm of public indignation in Spain and internationally.

The king has said he would never do this again. I’d say, he would only be credible as honorary World Wildlife Fund president, if he right now would completely break with his trophy hunting past, and would start a vigorous campaign among his fellow rich people to immediately stop trophy hunting.

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