Thursday, June 27, 2013

There are none so blind as...

those that will not see.

By the way, that none so blind phrase is not biblical, as so many believe.

The phrase seemed the best way to describe this writing from a book I've been reading. The book is titled: "The Healing Wound" by Gitta Sereny and it is a series of articles and essays she's written over the years. She writes:
For me, being with this man showed me as no other could have done the very essence of the process of corruption. It was an experience I might not have given myself had I know what it would do to me......I think my reason for doing the things I do, is and always has been quite simply - or perhaps not so simply - a need, a drive to know. The price one pays (and selfishly, expects the people one loves to pay) for giving in to this inner need, in shock, in tension and in a  particular kind of fatigue, can be high.

Perhaps something that happened when I was about half-way through the conversations with Stangl, can illustrate these tensions. It happened on an evening after I had stayed late talking to the prison director and the Dusseldorf station platform was virtually empty as I waited for my train. I heard the sound of crying - of many children crying, it seemed to me - for a long time before a freight train, slowing down during its passage through the station, went past us, And as it rolled through - the cries by now, I thought, desperate - I saw parts of pale small faces pressing against the narrow openings of each car. I'm not given to fainting, but I blacked out. The railway worked who helped mu up told me the freight trained carried cattle. It was calves, calves crying just like children. I can still hear them now, as I write.

The Healing Wound, Gitta Sereny. Essay titled "Colloquy With A Conscience" p 92-93.

She is writing about interviewing Franz Stangl who was the commandant of the Sobibor extermination camp during the holocaust. She wrote a book about him based on her interviews.

I reference blindness because she apparently was afflicted with it in depth and profundity...at least I presume she was. Nowhere could I find any mention that she was vegan or went vegan or supported veganism after her experience on the train platform. She certainly did not mention such in the essay and that would have been the logical place for it. I hope I'm wrong but I don't think so.

She writes about her need to know...yet she is unable to see what is right in front of her...that our behavior toward our fellow animals is that which we condemn as horrible and monstrous and "corrupt".

And the calves weren't crying "just like children", calves are children.

For those who are vegan...thank you. Going vegan is required for those seeing clearly. Not being vegan means blindly (or maybe not so blindly) supporting and participating in the horrid, the monstrous and the corrupt...so stop...please.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Past, Present and Future.

Every year here in Norman they put on something called the "89er parade". This occurs in April and is ostensibly a celebration of the beginning of the town...or something.  Actually it celebrates another instance of taking land (by force or threat of force) away from Native Americans. So we here in Norman annually celebrate a theft but we don't call it that nor do we characterize it that way. Instead of stealing land we call it "settling"...and those who stole the land we call "pioneers" or "settlers"...and they are looked upon with admiration instead of contempt. This admiration is not shared by all...some Native American organizations protest these events.

I've attended and participated in some of these protests because I think it's disgusting and shameful to lie about what happened the way we do...and because if we weren't lying but were telling the truth then the celebration would be about thieving and the benefits of thieving and that is no occasion or event to "celebrate". It should be a time of remembrance of the victims and shame for the behavior and education about how to make sure something like that never happens again. But it isn't.

How we conceive the past colors how we see the present which in turn forms our view of the future. Inaccuracies proliferate. One of the most poignant things that happens when protesting one of these 89er "celebrations" is the shocked look you can sometimes see on the faces of the children that are brought to these events. They've never heard of the theft, they've never been told that the land that was "settled" actually was land that was occupied by or belonged to others and that it was taken from them. They are innocents who believe the distortions they are given by their parents and families and schools and society.

When we are presented with lies and distortions as if they were "true" we are rarely ever also presented with tools and methods and ways to discern truth from falsehood. This equipping for twisted comprehension begins early and persists throughout our lives. And we all end up the worst for it. The less powerful are victimized by the more powerful and the victimizations are then celebrated as triumphs...by parades and festivals and on and on and the victims are invisibled away...unseen, unheard and unconsidered. And we end up treating a delusion as if it were reality.

In a snazzy little book titled "Two Cheers For Anarchism", James C. Scott argues that power makes us unable to hear the powerless. As we garner power...we become tone deaf...unable to hear the sounds or cries of our victims. They become essentially invisible and unheard to us. His book is about human interactions but it is easily extended to all life, to the planet herself. No one knows this better than our victims, our fellow Earthlings...this includes many indigenous humans of our planet.

We paint our victims out of our picture of the world, we silence their voices or cries with our deafness. And we destroy them, because we have power and we can.

Has their been a grouping of humans as a people, as a tribe, as a state, as a nation that hasn't victimized the less powerful? Ever? Is harming those with less power one of our defining group characteristics? We must get off of this treadmill of terror and exploitation and death that we are on.

And we really need to quit lying to ourselves,

In Scott's little book he references statues in Germany that honor the "Unknown Deserter"...dedicated to honoring "...a man who refused to kill his fellow men." Hooray for those humans...of any nation. Now we need statues for the "Unknown Vegan". Honoring those women and men "who refuse to harm their sister and brother Earthlings". And we need this to become the norm...instead of what exists now. You too can be a deserter from the war of humans on all Earthlings...go vegan. If you've already deserted...thank you...you definitely deserve a statue dedicated to you.