I am feeling a bit down today. I’ve seen some articles on social media that have upset me deeply. They’re always there, yes, but generally one can try and ignore them as the grumbles of so many whingers. Or can we? Today wherever I look it seems there is STUFF eroding my cheeriness.
Today’s post is inspired by an article that a school mate of mine from a long time ago posted on Facebook today about the last lonely male Northern White Rhino in existence. The poor creature now lives a lonely life hornless but with only armed guards for company in Sudan, who protect him from poachers. Now though he’s 42 years old, he is the last hope for the survival of the species. Prospects are slim for the survival of Northern White Rhinos, however, as previous attempts to get them to breed with the remaining two families, both in zoos, have been unsuccessful.
The species was decimated in the past by western hunters bagging them as hunting trophies. More recently however, they are killed mainly because the quackery of Asian “traditional” medicine values the “magical” properties of their horn.
Likewise there are reports of elephants in, of all countries, India, which is supposed to revere all creatures and especially Ganesh the elephant god, who have been chained and tortured and mistreated for decades in order to earn a little money for their tortuous owners. It is not anthropomorphism to detect the suffering and anguish on the faces of these intelligent, sentient beings and I wonder what has happened to humanity.
It truly makes me want to weep at how the world can sit by and do nothing about these poor creatures. Our world is full of other examples: the orang-utans in Malaysia facing extinction because of our demand for palm oil. They are being driven out of their habitats by by the increase in oil palm plantations.
It is very easy for me to be smart and say, right, I’m only going to buy food that doesn’t contain palm oil. It’s a tiny step in the right direction, a guerrilla battle by a middle-class urban warrior but I’m still left feeling truly overwhelmed and powerless to try to help these poor creatures. I suppose one has to choose one’s battles and you can’t do everything but that article posted on Facebook today truly broke my heart.
As you know I love dogs, and have signed up to a lot of dog-oriented organisations, so I stumble several times every day upon posts about dogs who been rejected in the most cruel circumstances: sometimes the poor animal is abandoned at a station with maybe a little bit of food or dog bowl. It cries for hours until someone takes it to a shelter for an uncertain future; or sometimes they’re lovely puppies who are simply dumped. I see desperate pleas to help young, sparky, lively dogs you don’t look like a danger to anyone but have become unwanted and are on death row because the shelters are full. I must confess that animal cruelty becomes too much for me quite often and I just scroll on down, my anxiety and stress being increased by the feelings of powerlessness to help. I find myself bitter that such sadness has intruded on my usually jolly Twitter feed.
At the moment, it is anything but levity. Despite not having voted Labour and therefore not that sad that they didn’t win the election last week, I am devastated at the plight of the Liberal Democrats who, it turns out, did seem to put a break on some of the most authoritarian, swingeing behaviour of some of the people in the Conservative cabinet.
The new cabinet seems anxious to push through controversial legislation quickly before their small majority dwindles to nothing through natural wastage or sex scandals as it inevitably will. I am hugely distressed at the priorities of the new government: reinstating the legality of fox hunting that, apparently, 85% of British people oppose; scrapping the Human Rights laws that took decades of fighting discrimination and inequality to achieve.
It seems nothing that makes us a civilised country is safe. Today comes news that people could be banned from protesting or opposing the government if they are saying things of which someone in the Government disapproves. It’s an end to the British people’s “passive tolerance,” apparently. Goodness, that phrase makes me spit tacks. As if the British people are rolling over like an over-friendly dog asking for tummy-tickles from the very person whose about to steal it for use as a bait dog.
Yes, yes. I know this is ostensibly being done to try and oppose radicalisation and (Islamic) fundamentalism, but it really doesn’t take much of a leap of imagination to see how repressive these proposed laws could be against people deemed to be subversive. I’ve been on protest marches in my mimsy, middle-class way; what if someone decided suddenly that I was an enemy of the State? In one fell swoop we seem to be emulating, Singapore or India or, I don’t know, Saudi Arabia.
I’m depressed by all this: the atmosphere feels like something out of the 80s. I’m wondering how the people who wish for oppressive or cruel new laws can seem to bypass their little warning light in their heads that flashes when they are doing something that isn’t unequivocally right.
What is it with us? How can anyone with a modicum of sympathy or empathy just scroll on down past these injustices against fellow humans beings and fellow creatures? I guess it’s a sort of denial. We shrug our shoulders and admit that we’re powerless to fight or correct all the injustices in the world. We can’t all fight all the time can we?
I guess it’s a bit like a long-established unbalanced relationship where your opinion or your words count for very little, where you feel that whatever you say is going to be ignored, or belittled, or condescended to or, to use social media terminology, autocorrected. You feel powerless, spending the whole day fighting against this powerlessness. It’s not a way to enjoy life.
So that’s where my thoughts are been taking me today. What can I do about them? Well, I can do all of those things I talked about or I can raise the profile of all of these issues with, for example, my children; in the local community; on Twitter; on Facebook., A face-saving gesture, it’s something I can do and I can do it immediately.
And in the meantime I can take myself out for walk with my dogs in the verdant woods near to home on beautifully sunny spring day with the green zinging off the luminous leaves against a clear blue sky. I can feel the sun on my face and it cheers me up.
After all, none of this affects me, does it? So there’s no need to worry.