Day at the Zoo

This is from a post my friend made on Facebook about her day at the Edinburgh zoo, edited to suit the medium. The enclosures for the big cats were compared to Victorian cages.

I had a lovely day at the zoo today, but why are all the animals allowed such nice enclosures and so much space to roam around in - except for the jaguars and leopards? The jaguar was pacing and the leopard was staring at me, looking very sad and scared of the group of school children next to me who had come to knock on the glass. How is any of it fair?

Apparently, the leopards eventually get to move into a new enclosure at the Highland Wildlife Park - but it's not built yet and the jaguars seems to be suck in those small enclosures indefinitely! Not the best end to an amazing day out!

United Nations Webcast

United Nations Webcast

Oh my gosh, how did I not know this existed before? Just when I thought my day could not get any better, got a tweet about the UN Human Rights Committee elections! So exciting!!!

Justice? What Justice?

Today Amnesty International posted an article about the US and Osama Bin Laden’s death, USA: A Reflection on Justice.  First of all, I would like to put out the obligatory disclaimer that I am in no way affiliated with Amnesty International and they are in no way affiliated with me.

Broken keep and burning farmTaught his fathers strength of arm;Feud and fight from gate to gateShowed them how to nurse their hate.~ poem about the Scottish Wars of Independence

When the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death first broke, early in the morning, I had mixed emotions.  On the one hand, I very vividly remember September 11th and how it (among things) marked the end of my childhood, and was pleased.  But on the other hand, I felt sad because I know this is not – and cannot be – the end.  In fact, this makes me fearful for the inevitable retaliations.  Wars do not end until one side is so utterly decimated that they have no one left to sacrifice.  When it is the US and several allies versus a large part of the Middle East, that will take a very long time.  Peace?  What hope is there for peace when both sides are breeding anger like this?  Bloody hell, at least with the Cold War actual violence was kept to a minimum!  I study the Scottish Wars of Independence, which lasted for nearly a century and within a couple years of their commencement had completely changed the Scottish economy because the crops were constantly being destroyed and the farmers killed.  We call the Middle Ages barbaric, but at least then people were honest about they did.  William Wallace, before the famous battle of Stirling Bridge, shot down all attempts at negotiation by saying that they were fighting to defend themselves and their freedom.  Hmm, who invaded who here?  Now, I am not trying to justify what either side has done here; rather, I want to point out that both sides are (supposedly) fighting for what they believe in.  If it is the same as what we believe, then it is a glorious cause to be supported whole-heartedly.  But if it is different?  Then you are wrong, and worse – a terrorist.  “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.”  Land of the free, eh?

“Justice is done.”  The US president’s infamous words following Bin Laden’s death, and a serious point of controversy.  Justice, I ask, what justice?  Where is the justice in death?  Guilty, innocent; it does not matter, murder is still murder.  But even if we ignore that, what of the innocent people who died along the way?  Where is the justice when children out gathering firewood are gunned down?  I understand growing up in a conflict zone causes kids to mature faster, but someone please explain to me how a nine year old can seem like a threat to a military helicopter.  That was just one incident, by the way; there were others too.  Where, then, is the justice in all this?  It sickened me then, it sickens me now.  First I was sad, but now … well, this is the change so many people had been praying for.  I have always been incredibly grateful to have been able to live in a place where I do not have to worry about my freedom or security, but now I look at everything and wonder if I have just been naive.  Is it really freedom, or is it ignorance?  At least when you have to fight for your survival, you know exactly what you have and what you are fighting for, and you know what freedom really means.  But justice?  What is the difference, now, between justice and forcing your beliefs onto others?  Freedom of thought?  That is now reserved for terrorists.

After nearly ten years, countless lives directly and indirectly lost (a lot of money goes into those war machines, money that could have been put towards healthcare or housing), international relations ruined, and the hope of peace practically destroyed forever … “justice has been done.”

If you can walk and talk, I definitely won't eat you"

Most people would say "vegetarian" means you do not eat meat or animals.  Okay, but what does that mean?  Some say "I won't eat anything that has a face," but have you ever tried finding a face on a jellyfish?  I do not eat them even though their expressions are beyond me.  So I thought about it this way - what does it really mean to be an animal?

Perhaps we could say "I won't eat anything with a soul" but depending on your personal religious beliefs that could be anything to nothing.  So that is out.  While we are looking at the religious, I will quickly touch on the next one - anything God created.  Yeah ... no.  If you believe in all that (once again, personal) then you believe God created everything.  And by the way, it was a fair ways into the Old Testament when God gave man permission to eat animals.  So Adam and Eve?  Vegetarians!  By the way ...

Finally, after much debate, I have decided on my definition of what I will eat or consider as acceptable to eat.  If anyone can think of a flaw, please let me know right away!

I will only eat plants and fungi that produce indirectly (as in do not need to "mate" and have no sex of their own, "gender" being a socially-defined concept).

Bonjour!

I thought I set all of this up yesterday, but since the blog did not exist 5 minutes ago, here's another go at the obligatory intro post.

This is not the only blog I have, so I hope to keep it more specialised and focused on human rights, social welfare, animal rights, and matters of a similar nature.  Essentially, my blogs are set up to mirror my Twitters (assuming that is working the way I want it to) - one is for the serious issues I care about; the other is for the random bits and bobs that flutter through.  If you are ever bored and looking for some quick amusement, check out my other blog.  Random does not even begin to cover my mind sometimes.

So the point of all this is quite simple really - I care.  Sure, the world is doomed and it is entirely humanity's fault, but so what?  As long as I am capable of doing something - anything, really - to help ease the inevitable pain* of another, I want to and hope that I will always try to do so.

*one of my favourite Navy Seals quote is "Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional."  The definitions of "pain" and "suffering" I consider to be very contextual.