Is there a proverb or quote in English that has similarity with this one:

"If the big two ox fight then the rubble gets the brunt."

This is a Maldivian idiom that explains how juniors get affected when elders quarrel or perhaps, when two ministers fight public gets the brunt etc.

  • Never heard something like that... :/ – Tim Aug 31 '14 at 20:05
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    Well thank you all. I managed to browse the answer. shared here for the sake of the question. an african saying goes.. when two elephants fight the grass suffer. – Ahmed Omar Aug 31 '14 at 20:45
  • Okay, feel free to post as an answer - click Answer this Question.... – Tim Aug 31 '14 at 20:49
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    Yes, I knew there had to be one. Worded in more up-to-date way: "When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled." – Canis Lupus Aug 31 '14 at 20:50
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    This is a great question. Welcome to ELU Ahmed. :) – dwjohnston Aug 31 '14 at 21:30

Elizabeth Knowles, Little Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (2009) doesn't have any relevant proverbs that are native to English, but it does list a closely related proverb, drawn from Swahili:

When elephants fight, it is the grass that gets hurt.

the weak are likely to suffer as a result of the conflicts o the strong and powerful; African proverb (Swahili)

A somewhat similar proverb pointing to the idea that the actual combatants aren't the only ones injured in a fight is this one from Bartlett Whiting, Early American Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases (1977):

When the members quarrel, the whole body must suffer.

And Wolfgang Mieder, The Prentice-Hall Encyclopedia of World Proverbs (1986) offers this proverb to sum up the implications of the preceding two:

Innocence is no protection. English

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