Donkey are very strong and intelligent animals. They have great memory and can recognize areas, other donkeys and people they were with up to 25 years back. Their reputation for being stubborn is due to their highly developed sense of self preservation.
They are more independent in their thinking than horses and will reason, then make decisions based on their safety.
It is difficult to force or frighten a donkey into doing something it sees as contrary to its own best interest. Thus, when we say ‘By repetition even the donkey learns’, what we mean is no matters how resilient a people or person, you can get them to fall in rank with an ideology by bombarding them constantly and with perseverance, with your message packaged in such a way that they will go along with it even if it goes against their own interest. This is what advertising, the film industry and political propaganda do best.
The flip side to this Arab saying is more optimistic. It says that no matter how low we have fallen, with constant efforts and perseverance, we can break cycles of ignorance, violence or simple bad habits.
This print was part of the 'Feast on This' exhibition, at the FOFA gallery, during Nuit Blanche Montréal 2015.