French ambassador shares moving story of Afghan girl and her pet bird

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The French ambassador to Abu Dhabi told the poignant story of how the pet bird of an Afghan girl fleeing the Taliban found a new home at the French Embassy in the United Arab Emirates.

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“There’s a story I’ve been meaning to tell for a while,” began Ambassador Javier Chatel, when he saw Aaliyah arriving at Al Dhafra airbase in Abu Dhabi with “an unusual possession,” a mana.

Referring to her yellow-billed pet mynah named Juji, he said, “She fought to get the precious little thing with her at the Kabul airport.” For hygienic reasons, the bird could not board the flight from Abu Dhabi to France with him.


“She cried quietly. I was shaken,” wrote Mr. Chatel. “I had promised to take care of the bird at the time [French embassy], feed him. She could visit them anytime and take them back. I will not forget the look of his desperate gratitude. “

During the next two weeks of the evacuation, the ambassador said that he managed to escort Juji to the French residence. “This energetic little mana got out of her compartment and made a big mess in the car,” he said.

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“He hid under the seat and wouldn’t budge,” wrote the ambassador, sharing a video of the bird trying to bite him before ducking back under a seat. “When I tried to talk him into coming back, the furious little fellow showed me that if he escaped from Kabul airport, I was no match.”

The bird “loosen” when the ambassador “bought him a nice cage, fed him, took him out on a cold morning so he could see the other birds.”

“He now has a girlfriend – a dove who visits him every day. So he loosened up and started saying mysterious things at night, in language we couldn’t understand. He spoke!”

Juzi did not like males, but laughed at females, the ambassador said, adding that the bird “barked” at attempts to teach him certain words beginning with a French greeting. Hi.

“I kept trying desperately with my daily ‘Bonjour’ – but of course he wouldn’t listen,” wrote the ambassador. “Or so I thought… Until one day, the (female) manager of the French residence sent me this ‘Bonjour’ that went straight to my heart.”

Mr Chatel said the Afghan girl Alia recently found him on Twitter and was happy to see that Juji was being looked after. “She wanted me to teach her [French],” she added.

In a tweet, Mr Chatel told Alia that his bird had become the embassy’s mascot, but promised to reunite her with his pet one day. “…if I can, I’ll take her to you personally one day,” he wrote.

The Twitter thread has been liked over 11,000 times and retweeted over 3,300 times.

“A short story about a bird… no… a big story about love and belonging,” wrote BBC correspondent Lise Doucet.

“From the darkness of those desperate days in August, came the uplifting stories of such simple humanity,” wrote Sky News Middle East correspondent Alistair Bunkle. He urged Twitter users to read the “beautiful thread”.

“A story of sadness, gratitude and compassion,” wrote Javid Faisal, a former spokesman for the Afghan government. “Happy that homeless Aaliyah and her homeless Maina both found a new home.”


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