120 Sheep Killed by Lightning in Kyrgyzstan, Sparking Parliamentary Comparisons

Sheep in the long grass. Wikipedia image.

Sheep in the long grass. Wikipedia image.

Lightning struck and killed 120 sheep in rural Kyrgyzstan earlier this week, with local social media users in the country calling the event a “warning” for the country's hapless parliament, where 120 lawmakers — often referred to derogatorily as ‘goats’ or ‘sheep’ — have their seats.

According to local outlet Turmush.kg:

Помимо 120 убитых молнией овец на пастбище Суук-Добо Аксыйского района, с обрыва выбросились 145 овец.Об

этом сообщили в областном управлении МЧС КР. По его данным, когда ударила молния, овцы испугавшись начали разбегаться, и 145 животных упали в обрыв. Чабан вел скот на пастбище Кашка-Суу. А на перевале Суук-Добо был организован временный ночлег, так как стемнело. В общем чабан с помощниками перегонял около 600 голов мелкой домашней скотины. Найдены туши 115 упавших в обрыв овец, которые отданы владельцам. Туши остальных еще не найдены. Комиссия гражданской защиты района и Аксыйское райуправление МЧС проводят уточняющие работы.

In addition to the 120 sheep killed by lightning in the Suuk Dobo pasture in Aksy district, a further 145 sheep threw themselves off a cliff [after lightning hit]. This was reported by the regional department of of the Kyrgyz Republic's Ministry of Emergency Situations [MES]. According to their data, the frightened sheep began to scatter [after the lightning], and 145 animals fell into the precipice […] The Commission for Civil Protection and the Aksy district department of the Ministry of Emergency situations are carrying out an assessment on the ground.

Under comedian Nurlan Anarbayev's Facebook post on the topics, the jokes rolled in:

Евгения Бердникова Это знак того, что просьбы к Мирозданию должны быть максимально четкими. Наверняка ведь кто-то просил космос избавить страну от 120 баранов.

Evgenniya Berdikova This is an indicator that requests addressed to the universe should me more specific. Someone [in Kyrgyzstan] clearly asked the cosmos to rid us of 120 sheep.

Azamat Mamytkhan не тех!! не тех баранов! Их тоже 120!

Azamat Mamytkhan Not those 120 sheep, a different 120 sheep!

Бакыт Молдожанов эт типа – это вам предупреждение. В следующий раз на месте баранов окажитесь вы?

Bakyt Moldozhanov Is this a sort of warning from above? Like, next time, instead of the sheep it will be [MPs]?

The lack of sympathy for the sheep and their shepherd is alarming, but antipathy towards lawmakers is perfectly understandable.

In six years of working under a system in which its constitutional mandate has been expanded, the legislature has done little to endear itself to the public, with MPs championing frivolous legislation as well as the more serious kind that represses fundamental rights.

To their credit lawmakers were thoughtful enough to sacrifice several sheep in 2011 in a bid to drive evil spirits out of government, but it didn't work. Corruption in the country remains pervasive at all levels.

In China's Xinjiang province, which borders Kyrgyzstan and co-hosts the Tien Shan mountain range, 143 sheep were killed by a lightning strike that also saw a further 30 sheep drown in 2012.

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