19 Jun 2014

Pain for Gain - An Ode Against Inhumanity

His name was Satao. He was a beautiful tusker, one of those rare elder elephants with the majestic tusks (a genetic trait), his pride and joy - and ironically his ultimate downfall. Satao was a living legend for conservationists, wildlife broadcasters and safari photographers. And a coveted ambling booty for the poachers. In recent years, he had found shelter in Kenya's Tsavo East National Park, and ironically his refuge was unable to grant him the immunity he deserved. Satao used to hide his tusks in the bushes when he sensed danger because he knew poachers were after them.

In the savannah garden of good and evil where nature's equilibrium is a tall order compromised by persistent human interference, greed won the victory and humanity's waning credibility weakened further. Greed, the root of all our evils that feeds the seven-sin matrix, is turning our Eden on Earth into the antechamber of Hell.

Satao (pict source via The Telegraph, photography by Richard Moller/ Tsavo Trust)

I have taken Satao's death very personally, and I think you should too. What crushes me is that Satao was killed by our human counterparts and this is what makes me question my pride as a human being if that means being associated with those who traded their humanity, their innate humane qualities (according to French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau), for the lower basic needs hierarchy that celebrates instant gratification, fast cash, consumerism and hedonism at all cost, with not much of a care for tomorrow, the consequences and the repercussions. We humans are turning our garden of Eden into a shambles: wastelands, fracked out hills, depleted jungles, displaced indigenous populations, polluted soils, GMO cultures, The Pacific Trash Vortex, all incumbent to our unbridled quest for more that takes our garbage heap to Babylonian heights, except I doubt this would take us one step closer to good, one step closer to God. The Horn of Plenty is now running on empty.

When we gloat about being the superior ones, top-of-the-food-chain masters, maybe we should cut the brag and take it down one notch to the periphery of modesty. Because how can elevated spirits like ours be capable to lower and cheapen themselves, stump rationale and morality, go against their benevolent grain, sell their soul to evil, awaken to sadistic pulsions, trade their honour for the lure of the quick buck and ephemeral satisfaction, go on the rampage to inflict pain and death, on cue, on autopilot.

(By Michael North Imagery)

I look at industrial farming, death on a plate, vivisection labs that practice torture to a 'T', bile farms, foie gras industry, big game trophy hunting, canned meat safaris, zoos, panda breeding programmes, shark culls, BlackFish, Taiji slaughters, Great Barrier Reef dredging and the Faroe Islands cetacean killings - to name a few examples that evidence our doomed interference with the natural world. Where is this Frankenstein nonsense leading us?

The destructive powers of humanity frighten me. They frightened Albert Einstein too when he realised that his participation in the evolution, the advancement of mankind would be turned on its head and used to nuke it instead.

Satao died for his ivory, 45 kgs of it, that will be shipped to the notorious Chinese ivory carving factories licensed by the notorious Zhao Shucong. The majestic elephant's pride and joy will be turned to trinkets. That is all it comes down to.

China, a paradox of a country all to itself, the only communist state to ever enjoy American capitalism to the hilt and to the point where it's taken over most of the US manufacturing marketplace (not to mention Europe's) and has been peddling its cheap wares to us by the container-load. Consumerism has turned cheap and cheerless, our high-turnover fast fashion items that burst at the seams after the first wash.

China has infiltrated African states like Kenya and South Africa with organised crime and corruption ensuring a supply of elephant tusk and rhino horn, sourced from the national parks like Tsavo and Kruger. China has also taken over the mining industry, not only across Africa but also Central and South America. And it seems that depletion is the end word. The West are at risk to be named and shamed as accomplices if their heads of state do not take a firm stance against China's organised destruction of our wildlife and embargo it until it complies.

You have no idea how saddened and angered I am. Behind the scenes, behind the ordained composure of this blog, yours truly is a dedicated animal activist and advocate. Elephant protection has been on my radar since childhood. I have always cultivated respect towards our natural environment and my contribution to its preservation may account for 1/100000th of a grain of sand in the grand scheme of things, but I won't just sit still and look pretty, because ignorance and indifference kill more lives than any form of commitment, no matter how small.

"See the animal in his cage that you built
Are you sure what side you're on?
Better not look him too closely in the eye
Are you sure what side of the glass you are on?
See the safety of the life you have built
Everything where it belongs
Feel the hollowness inside of your heart
And it's all
Right where it belongs (...)"

Nine Inch Nails, 'Right Where It Belongs'


  1. What more can be said in response to the human degradation being visited upon itself? The ultimate loser here is humanity as it continues to sink further into the tar pits of its own hellish contrivance. Once a people turn away from caring about other humans, what's a animal species or two, or twenty or forty, by comparison? There is a bitter irony and comeuppance on its way. Africa may well the cradle of human civilization; but in modern times it is looked upon as a "resource continent" to be raided, and not just by the Chinese. We have come full circle rising out of the muck in Africa to returning to it as a less civilized sort of being, more rapacious now than our Australopithecus "cousins" who were herbivores. Man will not be done with this Earth until it wipes itself clean as a failed biological mishap, the type that George Carlin noted that the Earth would shake off as a "surface nuisance." It will then re-heal itself as the self-correcting system that it is and beauty will once again prosper. The human species, having squandered its gifts both external and internal, will just not be around to appreciate it.

    1. The full circle irony is indeed a powerful allegory and a swan song to humanity as it stands, and it illustrates the human duality forces of creation vs. destruction. Adam & Eve had Eden handed out to them on a silver platter, little did they realise. Yet it seems that from that point forward, generation upon generation has left its mark upon earth, and in recent centuries has accented it into a widening path of destruction while looking up the skies and looking through their prayer books, searching in vain and in all the wrong places for ways to attain their biblical Heaven/ state of Nirvana.

      Except that they overlooked one possibility: that Heaven might well have been earthbound rather than up in the ether somewhere... And from the possibility (feasibility) of a Heaven on earth, we have instead created a purgatory of our own device. I admit this to be my creative and simplistic reinterpretation of Dante's Inferno but in the genesis this planet was bountiful. We chose to raid and loot the bounty, and Africa, as the "resource continent", is a prime illustration of this.

  2. Heh. The "swan song" could easily be a dirge without any notable difference... :)

    It all started with the illusion of value and thus misplaced values. A bowing to external things (controlling institutes and their baubles) which then continued as a complicit rape of the Earth and its physical, mental and spiritual resources. Near the end only a few will stand in for what was the human species; and even then these remaining few will not trust or love, but only consume each other; and thus they will vacate the premises and nothing will be categorized and named thereafter but will revert to its prior natural state before humans attempted to control it to their own undoing. And that's the good part... ;)

    1. We have herein demonstrated that life is way stranger than fiction. Talking of which, we are incidentally setting the scene for the next Armageddon blockbuster, feat. Dante's Inferno, Doomsday, and that Planet of the Apes grand finale! Humour aside, the optimist philanthropist within is still hoping that common sense, goodwill, respect, empathy, compassion and repentance shall finally prevail and save the day for us, unless we need the DC Comics superheroes to step in, making life and fiction become one! ;-)

  3. Hope in this case might be stranger than life or fiction. Life is unpredictable, but when sensation rules and we get 12,000,000 views for the next sexy-sensation on You Tube versus 236 views for Saving the World in 12 Easy Steps, then I feel that sitting back with a fine bottle of Perrier Jouet and watching the fireworks as an uninvested spectator does not lack a certain air of viability... ;)

  4. Ah, the shallow ways of the world... Interestingly, your observation echoes my experience as a blogger. My most popular posts in terms of pageviews are the ones where I discuss beauty products - or the PR one from last year where I featured a larger-than-life photo of Lindsay Lohan.

    As we skirt around the notions of success, I have long established that I would have attained some form of it, should I have taken the road well travelled of fashion and beauty, in which case a two-fold commiseration would have followed: (1) I would have got bored out of my box after going round the houses praising the latest shade of lipgloss, and (2) I doubt I would have counted you as a reader, which would have added more to my frustration of success.

    Thanks for sticking by, Rob, and I shall raise my glass of Perrier Jouet to this! ;-)

  5. Here! Here! A toast to the noble few who valiantly try to close the breach, whose hearts do not waver, and for whom hope does spring eternal!

    "Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon in front of them
    Volley'd and thunder'd;
    Storm'd at with shot and shell,
    Boldly they rode and well,
    Into the jaws of Death,
    Into the mouth of Hell..."

    Alfred Tennyson--"The Charge of the Light Brigade"

    1. "The romantic scenery, a contrasting bouquet of harsh, stern, delicate and feminine components in unison, befits the romantic literary genre like a metaphor and I would be forgiven to imagine the more flamboyant characters like Lord Byron or Tennyson taking in the views from the Yorskshire moors like one would take on the world, and propitiously finding the muse." ;-)

    2. Which brings us full circle in this yin-yang moment to Emily Bronte who would have seconded with extreme prejudice the reasons why this fine article of yours was written... :)