New York City needs more monkeys, India doesn’t

There are plenty of monkeys in New York City and many of them happen to be Jets fans. But they’re not theMonkey
type of monkeys you’d want to eat — if you’re into eating them, that is. Monkey meat is a delicacy for some West African people, including a Liberian immigrant named Mamie Manneh, who has been charged with meat smuggling. A mother of nine children, she faces five years in prison, in addition to a two-year sentence she’s currently serving for an unrelated offense, and could also be deported.

Manneh testified last year that before arriving in the United States more than 25 years ago, monkey meat
was critical to her religious upbringing.

At age 7, "I was baptized and they used that for the baptizing ceremony," she told a judge.

Baptisms, Easter, Christmas, weddings — all are occasions for eating monkey, Manneh’s supporters said in a sworn statement filed with the court.

The statement was vague about how the meat is obtained, but explains
that it always arrives dried and smoked. Once blessed by a pastor, "we
usually prepare it by cooking it for several hours into a stew," they

For them, the exotic import is more than just food.

"We eat bushmeat," they said, "for our souls."  [Link]

I’ve never eaten monkey meat — my local grocery store doesn’t carry it — but I don’t think it’s any different from eating other wild animals. If you were raised on monkey, you’d probably get a craving every time you visited the zoo. You’d say to yourself, "The sign says, ‘Don’t feed the monkeys,’ but it doesn’t say anything about feeding on them."

You’d probably also wish you could import monkeys from India, where they’re causing trouble in some towns and cities, behaving almost as badly as Shiv Sena activists.

Troupes of monkeys are out of control in India‘s
northeast, stealing mobile phones and breaking into homes to steal soft
drinks from refrigerators, lawmakers in the region have complained.

"Monkeys are wreaking havoc in my constituency by taking away mobile
phones, toothpastes, sipping coke after opening the refrigerators,"
Hiren Das told Assam state’s assembly Saturday.

He said the primates were "even slapping women who try to chase them". [Link]

They’re sipping Coke and slapping women? What are they going to do next — watch football?

We really need to do something about these male chauvinist monkeys. Exporting them is a possibility, but there’s an easier option: inviting Mamie Manneh and her nine children to visit. As she and her friends might say, "If you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em."

Photo by davideoneclick

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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