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CULTURE MORALITY

Of weasel Americans and adorable apes

When an ape becomes more valuable than a baby, you know Americans are nuts

Sometimes, I think, the world gets way madder than I usually take it to be. The other day a three-year old kid fell into a gorilla’s enclosure at an American zoo and the zookeepers had to shoot the gorilla to prevent harm from coming to the boy. Then the unexpected happened.

No, no the gorilla didn’t embrace the boy to keep it from being shot. It died. Of course it died.

The unexpected that happened is this: two petitions were launched, and have so far been signed by over 500,000 people, and a new Facebook page quickly got 100,000 likes. All were protesting the death of Harambe, the silverback gorilla.

Their thrust was this: the gorilla posed no harm to the boy, the zoo officials were wrong in shooting it, and the mother of the little boy should be held responsible for the demise of this adorable member of an endangered species. A picture of the gorilla did rounds with the inscription: “I was killed because a *profanity edited* wasn’t watching her child.”

Which got me thinking. What has made Americans so soft? And so inanely hypocritical? Since when did they start valuing animal life more than human life? When did the conservationist movement become more important than public decorum? And, by the way, need I tell you that most of the extinctions currently ongoing have been caused largely by their extravagant consumerism?

Dear Americans, every time you type the URL of the protest page and lazily click the sign button, every time you drive your fuel-guzzler to a protest for the life of a dead gorilla, some unknown and uncatalogued species in the Amazon or the Congo goes extinct. And here you are preaching to us about conservation.

And you behave as if the world has run out of problems and all we need to do is sit back and adore animals in whose faces you see the people you have driven out of your lives. You even misspelt the name of the gorilla by the way. Harambe is clearly a corruption of the Kiswahili word Harambee. Correcting the misnomer would have been a more worthy cause than throwing cruel words at a poor mother who helplessly witnessed the near-death experience of a child she loves.

While the rest of you were busy fooling around like the gorillas you claim to fight for, she took her four children (four, mind you) to the zoo to give them a treat on a holiday. That you expected her to have her eyes on each of them at all times shows you know nothing about parenting, about motherhood, and about family life. And I am not surprised. You have spent your entire lives destroying these same fixtures of society and are now busy spreading your corruption around the world.

And then, when the young one slipped into the enclosure (his action shows he probably liked the gorilla more than any of you do), the mother had to watch as a wild animal capable of crushing a coconut (you know what that is, don’t you?), with one hand, dragged him by the leg through a pool full of its own waste, his head going in and out of the water and banging against the concrete sides.

And you, dear Americans, say the gorilla meant no harm. Of course it didn’t. Animals never mean anything. They just survive. And to ensure its survival, Harambe(e) would have had to kill that boy. That’s how it is. But then again, you know nothing about the wild.

So the zookepers shot the animal. And you looked up from your TV, or smartphone, or whatever it is you use to divert your attention now that you have so little to do and are so lonely. And you said that that was the height of human cruelty.

As if just last week 700 people hadn’t drowned in the Mediterranean trying to escape the conditions your laziness and greed have straddled them with. As if in your own country a man can drive through a town without seeing evidence of poverty everywhere he looks. As if 1 in 6 of your own young men between 18 and 34 isn’t either unemployed or in jail, and your policemen keep shooting them for fitting the description of criminals. And you come here yapping to us about an ape you knew about for the first time when you read of its death. Even Darwin would be ashamed.

Have you heard that millions of people are slaves in South-East Asia? Have you heard that the other day more millions were rendered homeless by floods in Colombo, Sri Lanka? And what about the minorities whose lives are in constant mortal danger in the middle East? And Burundians, who are dying in their own country because you have been unable to do anything? Heck, do you even know where Burundi is? Do you know where silverback gorillas come from? Yea, you’ll find Burundi and Congo and CAR around the same area. And people there are dying like flies. And just a little to the northwest of that area, Boko Haram still has 218 of the 276 girls they abducted from a school two years ago.

Dear elite American, you have lost touch with reality. The next time you want to protest the death of an animal while the world around you burns, jump into the enclosure of a lion (they are seven times fewer than silverback gorillas right now) then shout to the zookeepers to keep their cool.

I assure you you won’t even complete the first word. You will be dead, and the impulsive lobby of which you are a vocal member will crown you the martyr of an endangered species. But that will not change the fact that you will have become a delicious meal for an animal as oblivious of your fight for its rights as I am of your existence, and that the world will have one idiot less.

Feature image: gorillas-world.com.

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