The Mexican Revolution (Part II)

Mexico Burning Fire Flag War Conflict Night 3D

 

Hello my little padawans!

Today, I make good on my promise to keep following the events surrounding the disappearance of the 43 Mexican Normalistas (teaching students) who were taken nearly three months ago in Iguala, Mexico. If you haven’t been reading too much into what’s already being labelled as a global movement, you can read about it in my last post here.

Last time around, I talked about the unavoidable similarities between the Massacre of Tlatelolco (1968) and the kidnapping and disappearance of the 43. But today we are going to take a look at other elements and go far beyond the borders of Mexico to see what the global response has been to this national crisis. And to prepare you for this, I warn you that although I will try to remain as objective as I possibly can when it comes to facts, I will also be expressing my personal opinion on some other matters. And yes, there will be a lot of quotations flowing around, because I just love quotations. Enjoy!

 

Within a Breath of Revolution

 

Nearly a month after my post about the “progress” on the investigation of the 43 normalistas who “suspiciously””vanished” in Mexico at hands of “unknown” armed men, the authorities of Mexico are no closer to finding the 43 normalistas- or their bodies for that matter- and appeasing an increasingly frustrated population who want them back alive. As a consequence, what was expected to be a routine “investigation”, has turned into what we can only be described as a cluster-fuck of epic proportions. Beginning with the rumors that the government was directly involved in the kidnapping of these 43 student-teachers of radical-leftist leanings, to the famous “Ya me canse” (I’ve had enough) of the Attorney General heading the investigation, to the recent scandals involving the president’s wife, the Mexican people are banding together closer than ever to oust the current administration. What we are witnesses to is  is one of the largest social movements of my lifetime. If before we were astounded at the high level of animosity and resentment towards the government, today, not just Mexico, but the entire world is astounded at the level of organization, largely- if not entirely- with the help of social media, not seen since the Spring Revolution (or Arab Spring) that started in Tunisia in 2010.

Artists, intellectuals, heads of state, common citizens, and politicians from all over the world that at first were just third-party observers are now involved in the fight, taking a more direct role in condemning the injustices of the government and calling for a complete overhaul of the judicial system and of the people writing the laws. Basically what the majority of Mexicans want is to strip the government of the current cabinet and replace it with a new one. Whether you think that’s a realistic goal remains to be seen, but what is evident is that the rallying mobs are now beginning to influence policy. And yet, the government doesn’t seem to get the hint that it’s fighting a growing monster. However, like any cornered creature would, it’s expected that the government will fight back. And facing the growing pressure from an international community, we’ll see just how civil this beast behaves. Then again, we are talking about the PRI who ruled Mexico in a successful one-party system for 71 years straight. And if you know anything about those guys, is that they don’t disappoint when it comes to fucking things up.

photo credit: sofíagonzález via photopin cc

Girl holds up sign at a protest which reads “We are missing 43”. Photo credit: sofíagonzález via photopin cc

Although the current cabinet is in a sort of damage control at the moment, the people aren’t having it, and what at first was calls for justice has slowly grown into the shouts of warning that if they don’t change the music, the party is going to end, and it’s going to end bad. These warning signs that a revolution is brewing are pretty evident when you see public officials nervously trying to pick up the pieces of a few (or lots) of miscreants who fucked up one too many times. And when the president goes on national television to announce change in reform, that’s when you know that the people are doing something right. And also that the situation is getting bad- or interesting, depending on how you look at it.

It seems that that semblance of inaction by government officials is just that, a semblance, for they have been plenty busy since the last update a few weeks ago.

But before we get down to the nitty-gritty of the details let me explain why I think this is a very exciting (perhaps not the right word) time to live in.

If you live in a country as fucked up as most Latin American nations- in this case Mexico- then at least once every few generations the people have the chance to change their government for better or for worse. The true sentiment of revolution resides in the ability for people to assimilate their realities with their hopes for how that reality should be. What we have in Mexico is not unprecedented in any way, but the calling of millions of Mexicans, and millions more around the world supporting them to change that government is unprecedented, or at the very least surprising. And THAT is what’s exciting.

In a talk I was having with my dad the other day (he lives in Mexico City), he brought up a very good point that I think is applying more and more at a global level, and that is that people, especially students and younger people, are becoming more and more politicized and more involved in the inner-workings of their governments. Long gone are the days when elected officials relied on a blanket of ignorance to continue ruling nations as if they were serfdoms. Nope, the 60s are coming back with a kick, combining classic insurgent techniques for protests and strikes with the efficacy and modernity of social media to drive and organize all these little movements to make it a global one. But a great thing to recognize here, is that although these demonstrations are peaceful for the most part, they are by no means lacking in power. Let no man tell you that the power and rage of the people is not scratching at the surface of restraint that is within a needle’s poke of a nuclear explosion.

 

Progress?

 

And now, let’s catch up with what’s been happening lately. And more importantly, what’s going to happen.

Ever since the chant for “Vivos se los llevaron, y vivos los queremos” (Alive you took them and alive we want them back), there’s been a few scandalous events shaking up the establishment starting with the “white house”. This is obviously not in reference to the American White House (although there is a bit of involvement there too- another story), but rather the mansion that Angelica Rivera- the president’s wife- “bought” with her salary as a soap-opera actress. Many people call foul claiming that it’s very improbable that she could have bought a $7 million house with the kind of salary she “earned” as a soap opera actress in Mexico, and that the house, along with many other gifts, were actually concessions as a result of a very lucrative contract the president arranged with a transnational company to build a high speed train in Mexico, something highly illegal under fair-competition-rules. That’s one.

Another one is the events that happened during the massive demonstration in the Zocalo area of Mexico City. While thousands of protesters gathered peacefully on the square, a few black sheep among them that are believed to be government agitators a la Tlatelolco ’68, started bursts of violence that led to 20 people getting arrested and 11 of them being taken to maximum security prisons where they were interrogated and beaten. I will admit that I was not there, therefore I do not know what exactly happened at the Zocalo square. It could’ve been that a few people were being unruly and violent, but by logical conclusions, if only 20 out of thousands were arrested, then you know there’s a piece of the story that doesn’t quite fit the puzzle.

Following the insurmountable pressure on the government, all 11 of the protesters were released alive, but not exactly well. Besides their own testimonies of the beatings they received in prison for crimes that the government has not been able to stick on them, it’s sort of hard to convince an entire population whom you’ve already managed to piss off that they tripped and fell on their way home. Yup, the credibility of the government is so tarnished now that not even El Presidente himself could fix things with his 10 commandments against injustice and corruption or by the implementation of the new anti-corruption telephone number (911- oh irony) that many are mocking as a direct line to denounce corruption to corrupt police. And then there’s the little hide-and-seek game that plainclothes agents of the police played with UNAM student Sandino Bucio. Snatched in plain daylight, Sandino was basically kidnapped, tortured, and threatened by the police who claimed that he was one of the agitators in the November 20th protests. According to the statement Mr. Bucio gave to TV cameras, the police told him that they would disappear him like the 43 of Ayotzinapa, that they would rape him and that they forced him to give up his passwords to his profiles on various social networking sites. He also said in front of cameras that they would pick up more people. But after charges that he was carrying explosives in his backpack didn’t stick, he was released and now his testimony is all we have to prove that individuals who self-identified as members of the police are in the business of hunting down students. Now if it looks like I am adding one trickle of fuel to the fire, then good, I wish to dump the whole fucking can of fuel and burn the whole thing down.

Sandino Bucio Credit: amqueretaro.com

UNAM student Sandino Bucio
Credit: amqueretaro.com

After these succeeding scandals, you would think that the government would be a tiny bit more cautious in the way they conduct business and would let the waters quiet down before resuming their usual games… you would think. However, the reality tells a different tale.

It’s difficult to know just high up this all goes, although it wouldn’t be completely off the mark to say that it goes all the way to the top. And I don’t mean just the top of the Mexican political circles, I mean the top top, meaning ex-presidents, like the Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Mexican ex-president accused of stealing not only the elections back in 1991 but also billions as he fled the country. Some even go as far as to say that the American government might once again be involved in foreign affairs of civil unrest. It would make sense if they were, you know with Mexico being just across the border and all. I don’t suppose Obama would want a destabilized country as his neighbor even if America claims to be pro-human rights, anti-corruption, anti-dictatorships, blah blah blah. All this bullshit doesn’t matter in the end if American interests are threatened, and how could they not be when Mexico exports a huge amount of oil back to the U.S. and abroad and the newly-privatized oil companies are now in the reins of foreign investors with a pretty big interest in what is happening there now.

Woman holding up sign that reads "The real terrorists are those who kill, not those who protest".  photo credit: Gatifoto via photopin cc

Woman holding up sign that reads “The real terrorists are those who kill, not those who protest”.
photo credit: Gatifoto via photopin cc

It also doesn’t help when the head of the government is seen on very friendly terms with the owner of the biggest television company in Latin America, and the president’s wife’s former employer- Televisa. This is the very same corporation that out of the kindness of their hearts, “gifted” the president’s wife one of the adjacent houses to the “white house” as a retirement present. What would a communications and television corporation want with the government? If you are naive enough, nothing. If you know what the fuck’s up, then a lot. But it’s not entirely news that in Mexico, the news are just a tool for the government to use at their pleasure rather than being a source of information. I suppose you could say that about all governments, but Mexico is slowly going the ways of China in regards to freedom of the press– or lack thereof. So much so that many Mexicans now prefer to get their news through social media channels rather than the evening news. Part of that mistrust lies also in the cozy relationship the media has, or has had in the past, with the government. In turn, many are now turning to social media for its flowing ability to disseminate information quicker and more effectively, not to mention that is a little bit harder to censure than the news the government paid for, and it has the added benefit that these unadulterated news come from an objective third-party perspective, usually from other countries looking from the outside-in. But if we are to guess what’s going to happen next, I would put my money on Mexico starting to censure social media to quell the protests. Already there’s a bill being introduced in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate to make it illegal for protesters to go out into the street.

It is usually said that in Mexico the most dangerous profession to be is a journalist. It’s true. More of them have died covering Felipe Calderon’s War on Drugs than they have at any other time in history. Similarly, it is also said that it is just as dangerous to be a student, than to be a narco. Objectively I couldn’t say that that is true, but it does make a strong statement. It seems that at the moment being a radical left-leaning student in Mexico is more of a gamble than being a drug trafficker. Again, this is only my opinion and I could not sanction that from an objective point of view, but it is starting to seem that way. What is true is that the number one threat to any nascent dictatorship is an informed public, and the people of Mexico are starting to get informed.

 

Worldwide Support

 

It seems that for the time being, the president and his cabinet are toeing the line very carefully making sure that no other fuck-ups, ahem, excuse me, mistakes aren’t made to anger the people even more, you know since they rile up together and stuff. But as we read everyday in the news (those of us that still can), it seems that the beast is fighting back. And with every baton that comes down on another student, and with each video uploaded to YouTube, a deeper grave is dug for the machine of repression in a situation that is increasingly FUBAR. You’re going to have to look that one up on your own.

The only upside to all of this is that while cops and soldiers are out there busting heads, the real revolutionaries (if they can be called that at this stage), are documenting every single instance of violence to add to the already overwhelming PR campaign battle that is being waged not just inside the country but outside its borders. This push to publicly condemn and embarrass the president, his cabinet, and in effect the entire government structure has worked wonders so far.

Among one of the most high-profile call-outs has been that of the universally-loved Uruguayan President José Mujica who has called Mexico a failed state after the disappearance of the 43. My dad and I, as no doubt most Mexicans would, agree that the man is right! President Mujica is not saying that Mexicans are failures, he was merely pointing out an uncomfortable truth to fathom (for civil functionaries at least) that Mexico is indeed becoming a failed state. Of course soon after, he was pressured into recanting his statement, but in the hearts and minds of all Mexicans it stands as nothing but truth what this beloved head of state has said.

In the age of the Internet, thousands of groups in cities around the world support those in Ayotzinapa, and indeed all the Mexicans who scream for change. For me, it’s the pleasure of seeing the people finally wake up, or rather I should say come together to unite under one banner to fight against a regime wearing the mask of a constitutional democracy. And it seems like it’s going to be a long fight, but as they threw the first punch, the people of Mexico cannot back down any longer and now what they are shouting is no longer a call for justice, but a call for honest change.

 

What’s Next?

 

No one can accurately predict what’s going to happen next, as another major protest is already taking place today. But when major news sources, especially outside the country of unrest, start speculating about the what ifs, that is a good time to start paying attention. Usually there is something on TV to distract the people while the government continues doing its shenanigans, but as we have all seen, after three months of protests, a massive awareness campaign, and amounting failures on the side of the Mexican government, the sentiment for change in Mexico has spread worldwide, and there is hardly any other issue that takes precedence in the country.

It is no secret that people love revolutions, and this is a noble revolution. People love to rage against the machine, they love to speak out when their rights and the rights of others are in danger of being suppressed and stripped away. And although a lot of times their voices are scattered, the few times when their voices come together, that single, unified voice echoes not only across the world, but throughout the ages of time. Perhaps this is the time for Mexicans to unite their voices and let people know that this is our revolution, and that the fight for our future begins now.

And now I leave you with this video from Mexican rock-hip/hop group Molotov and their song “Gimme Tha Power” from back in 1997, words that to this day still speak of the sad reality of a country on the brink of civil war. Enjoy!

(Visit here if you wish to see the video with English subtitles)

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Interesting Articles to Read

Reporters Sans Frontieres, 2014 (http://en.rsf.org/71-journalists-were-killed-in-2013-18-12-2013,45634.html)

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The New Age of Extinction- Nature’s Most Effective Killer

Hello readership! This month we are in mourning. Who do we mourn you ask- is it a celebrity, a politician, an intellectual, an important figure; could it be the Biebs or maybe a terrorist you might have found sympathetic? The answer is none of the above, as these things tend to go.

No, today we mourn the death of Suni, initially one of 7 rhinos of the highly endangered species- practically already extinct- of White Rhino that are left in the world. Yes, that’s 7. Not 7000, not 700. Just 7. And now just 6. Only 3 of whom are able to breed.

 

rhinocerosWhite rhinos in Kenyan conservation camp

 

Although it was announced that the death of this rhino protected in captivity had nothing to do with illegal poaching, and that the death seems to be the cause of natural events, it is nonetheless very sad that it has happened.

To you, the death of this rhino might not have meant much, after all, not everyone is very informed about what species are close to extinction or even how many different species of the same animal exist. But to conservationists, zoologists, and animal lovers in general- or really anyone with a conscience- this is a major blow to the overall decreasing rhino population that has been declining rapidly since the early 1900s.

Although the reason for annihilating this specific species of animal might sound dumb- as opposed to slaughtering a cow or a chicken for consumption or other uses- to the people who poach these animals, the reason is more esoteric in nature; they are killed almost exclusively for their horns.

This only comes to show that we are becoming far more effective killers than mother nature herself.

 

THE PROBLEM

 

http://www.rhinoremedy.org/medicine/point-less-rhinos

This is the part where we start redefining some terms.

Illegal poachers- that’s the polite term for assholes with guns- kill these animals for a small fortune simply to cut off their horns and ship them to Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam, India, China and even some Middle Easter countries for uses that one might consider wasteful. In Arab countries, they are used for hilts in their janbiya daggers. In Thailand, Vietnam, and China they are ground to a fine powder for “medicinal” purposes. However, after studies done to try to figure out what sort of health benefits these horns offer, it turns out that they have none. Zilch. Zero. So basically, as far as the evidence can provide, there is no real use for White Rhino horns aside from superstitious purposes. And if we know anything about superstition from our great teacher, “history”, is that the word is just a polite way of saying “bullshit”.

I’m not gonna give you the whole hippie-vegan-keep-every-single-creature-on-earth-alive rap, because then I would have to guilt myself into admitting that we as a species would not have survived this long had it not been for help from the food chain below us. But then again, these animals are not being killed for meat, or clothing, but purely for vanity and for some misplaced misconception that what rightly belongs to them can somehow do something for us. It is a killing-en-masse purely supplied by a highly illegal and profitable business that provides no actual goods to an uninformed population.

Although the myth of the precious horn has been around for a while, it is only fairly recently that countries started doing something about the critical killing off of the White Rhino simply for use of its horn. And as the Rhino population decreases more and more over the years, the enforcement on the killing, selling, distributing, exporting and importing of horns has increased from the lax enforcement it was initially to the militarized commandos that guard these near-extinct species.

 

Recorded number of poached rhinos in Africa

Recorded number of poached rhinos in Africa http://www.savetherhino.org/rhino_info/poaching_statistics

Graph 2, data published by South African Department of Environmental affairs (2014)

Graph 2, data published by South African Department of Environmental affairs (2014)  www.savetherhino.org/rhino_info/poaching_statistics

 

But the White Rhino is not the only species that we have driven to extinction. The Dodo bird- a flightless bird native to the island of Mauritius, near the island of Madagascar, became extinct after European sailors colonized the island and hunted the birds to extinction. In the precious island of Madagascar, which is a haven for undiscovered creatures and a place where wildlife thrives in large part due to some parts of it being inhabited by humans, there are a few species out of the thousands that reside there that are already becoming extinct due to human activity.

But land animals are not exclusive to our destruction.

Shark Finning

Shark finning operation

If you have read anything about sharks, then you know that the yearly shark-to-human ratio when it comes to killing is about 2,000,000 to 1. In reality it is estimated that 100 million sharks are killed each year, this averages to about 11,000 an hour, about 184 every minute and about 3 per second. Take a moment to let that sink in. And that’s just with regular ol’ harpoons a-la Moby Dick. Ok, perhaps a-la Moby Dick with a little bit of Terminator in there. The point is that this sharkicide (new term), is being done with traditional methods, not counting our dumping of waste and trash into the ocean turning it uninhabitable for the creatures that live in it. So much chemical waste, primarily from the industries of first-world countries, ends up in the oceans acidifying them and destroying entire habitats, like corals, where smaller sea creatures live and feed from. This causes a massive chain reaction where the buck stops with us. Eventually, the harm we cause to the marine life will affect us and eventually, and in a hypocritical twist of fate, that’s when we will start to give this problem the immediate attention it deserves.

The reason for the killing of sharks, if you were wondering, is equally perverse and equally impractical. All over the world, sharks are killed by commercial and recreational purposes. Tournaments in the U.S. and Europe bring in big bucks to catch the biggest sharks. In China, shark fin soup is a delicacy. Maflia-style gangs make a lot of money from a growing demand of the soup which is seen a delicacy. Millions of sharks are captured and finned (more like de-finned) in order for people to consume them, while the body is discarded. Sometimes these sharks are alive when the excruciating process happens and if they manage to survive, they don’t survive long in the ocean wilderness. One of the most depressing parts about it all is that, the fins are supposedly tasteless and are used just to give the soup texture. The rest of the shark is not used.

In the same manner the North American buffalo (American bison) was killed only for their hide and fur in the 19th century, both of the previously mentioned species are being quickly exterminated for similar reasons; and just like the buffalo, they cannot replenish their populations quick enough. And while the buffaloes eventually did bounce back, albeit to a fraction of the populations they had before the American and European settlers pushed the western boundary farther and farther, those events left a deep scar that was felt by the native peoples, who shared a lot in common with them (including their very own extermination at the hand of European-Americans) and who valued these animals not just as things that provide for them, but as companions and creatures that commanded respect. The Native Americans used every part of the buffalo, from the hides, to the meat, to the bones; nothing was discarded and everything was done in a ritual that involved venerating the creature for giving its life for their nourishment- not that it had it any choice but still.

Over the centuries, we have exterminated many species for our use, and every now and then it leads to disastrous consequences that change the course of history. A famous example is that of Pope Gregory IX who by papal decree (Vox in Rama), vilified the black cat as and commanded that all black cats in Europe be exterminated. Well, this tiny fuckup lead to a massive surge in the unchecked rat populations in Rome which helped greatly spread the Bubonic plague, which is of course carried by a tick that lives in rats. The Bubonic is estimated to have killed between 75 and 200 million people.

 

THE REASON

 

Money. OK, let’s move on.

Fine, I’ll explain.

You might be wondering why it’s okay to kill some animals and not others, after all they are also living creatures and the more we find out about them and about their behaviors and anatomies, the more we know that they could possibly have rational thought as we do, they just express it a different way.

Well, the answer is very simple, because like Mufasa explains to Simba in The Lion King (see with your parents about your childhood if you don’t understand the reference), all creatures form part of a chain that feeds itself. It’s the circle of life that goes on in a balance created by nature and which we are part of. Yes, we are not exempt in that circle and it is bad when we mess with it, as we have obviously seen.

I wonder what all these vegan types would say if they could open their eyes and realize that their ancestors killed many animals for nourishment and even for fashion (then again, their fashion was merely to cover their genitals) and kept doing it for thousands of years. I think these people should be given a well-deserved Darwin award for taking themselves out of our precious gene-pool. Or even what they would say if they knew that their very existence means death to certain animals, even the most minute creatures. Every time we breathe, an animal dies in an unrelated event that stretches beyond our own understanding. Not to mention the clothes we wear, the places where we live, and even the very ground we walk on is made from the fossilized and oily remains of ancient animals. Would they object to sacrificing themselves in a game of fully-loaded-gun Russian roulette in order to embody the Janist religion of total and complete respect for life? The answer is no. Let one of them debate you about it.

Yes, we kill animals for various reasons. For self-defense; for shelter; for clothing; for nourishment; for the daily things we need; protein; because there hasn’t always been tofu, etc. But it’s when we take more than what we need that is the problem.

No other species in the animal kingdom behave this way in this particular aspect, and even our ancestors were not wasteful with the creatures that provided for us- or not as wasteful. It has been urbanization and industry that has created a system of surplus that vanquishes the creatures that could previously keep their numbers constant. Not anymore. With our ever-growing demand for…well everything, it is that specific chain that suffers.

Money is not the root of the problem, but it is part of the problem. And I will show you how much of a problem it is by providing you with a guide to show you just how big of an industry the killing off of different animals is.

  • Sharks– Main industry: shark finning. 100 million killed per year. Profit: $450m-$1.2 billion per year.
  • White Rhinoceros- Extinct in the Wild. Main industry: Rhino horn estimated at $30,000 per pound. 946 rhinos were killed in 2013.
  • Dolphins– Main industry: dolphin meat. Up to 20,000 killed legally each year. Profit: up to $200,000 for a live dolphin. $600 per dolphin (dead) sold for meat.
  • Seals– Main industries: seal meat and seal pelts. Up to 10,000 killed annually (varies from country to country and depending on legal regulations it could be more or less). Profit: up to C$16.5 million (varies from country to country).
  • Alligators- Main industries: crocodile meat and crocodile leather. Endangered species in some areas. Number killed worldwide: unknown. Main cause of death is deforestation and hunting. Profit: $77 billion in luxury goods. (2012)
  • Mink- Main industry: luxury clothing. 14 million Mink skins produced in Denmark alone per year. Export value: €.5 billion (Euros).

Whether they are endangered or not, these are just a few species out of many more.

 

THE SOLUTION

 

More than money, there is one aspect in any type of campaign to effect change that we can all engage in whether we have money to donate or not, or even whether we want to donate or not. In fact, this tool is the most important tool we all have at our disposal to make the change we want, and indeed the change we need- information. Rather than throw money at the problem, people need to be informed about how their behavior affects other people, other creatures and the environment. The first thing we must do is inform ourselves and ask questions.

Because even when we are philanthropists and givers, we are also selfish, and so the first question we must ask is “How does this affect me?” You need to convince yourself that every action has a reaction and that eventually it affects us all, the only difference is that it affects us to varying degrees. But because we are all in the same boat, even if it’s minimal, the effect does happen.

Next, you should ask “What can I do to stop/reverse this effect?”

At some point, somebody got curious and noticed that there weren’t any buffalo in the American Plains, then someone took action and with heavy enforcement and a massive conservation effort, eventually the buffalo population bounced back. With the technology we have now and the means to see it through (with the help of the internet and social media), this should not even be a challenge in today’s world. However, we arrive at the most critical of all questions: do we actually want to do change our behavior?

Seemingly simple in theory, very hard to do in practice. Why? Because it requires shifting an entire population’s point of view and desires for an inconvenient purpose. This is especially difficult to do especially when it has been going on for many generations. For example, in Taiji, Japan, local fishermen still round up hundreds of dolphins every year during high season and they slaughter them for meat. And despite many efforts to stop this ancient practice, it continues to happen. However, these mobilized efforts can work given the right conditions. For example in the film “The Cove“, there is a scene where Japanese people are shown the slaughter of dolphins and the amount of cruelty that goes into it. In the movie- rather the documentary- most people were sympathetic to the pleas of the activists and conservationists and admitted to a lack of knowledge about how the dolphin meat they consumed was acquired and thus many were inclined to stop eating dolphin meat.

This is just one example of how a very public and massive campaign to show why and how these creatures (animals in general) are slaughtered can make a difference. People can in fact be persuaded to abandon these useless practices given the information.

Another important question you must ask yourself is: do animals not deserve our respect as living creatures?

We have to make a distinction between what we need and what we want. Would we be wrong to say that a cow doesn’t feel as much pain as a seal pup when slaughtered? We have to identify these sentiments we feel and learn to recognize the reality that the world provides enough for us to survive and live well. Yes, some animals will die in order for humans to live, but must we take all the animals? Or just the few we actually need. Eventually, we will come to the realization that at some point, our reach will exceed our grasp.

How can countries help?

In the end, it falls on individuals to change policy. Politicians everywhere, whether we like it or not, “go with the flow” to the tune of their constituents’ wishes- for the most part. It is up to the citizens to demand change in their countries, not just for their country’s sake but for the worlds’. They- we- have a responsibility to demand that things change. Only then will there be a worldwide effort where countries take an active role in their participation to end the destruction of species for our non-benefit. How? More than by just criminalizing the import-export of these goods (rather ‘bads’), they should be curving that demand by other means. Starting by providing better economic opportunities for the people in those countries who would otherwise turn to crime to survive; by discouraging these practices by showing people just how much we need these creatures. By working with the small organizations that want change to make it harder to obtain animal made goods, and by helping to put an end to superstitious ancient claims by means of scientific evidence. Although tougher sanctions is not a bad idea either.

We have already seen- alas a bit late in some instances- that with pressure, governments can change laws and enforce them, as in the case of the White Rhino. Some of these governments will make empty promises while others simply reserve themselves to banning the practice without applying enough emphasis on the superstition, as in the case of China and Russia with the Bengal tigers.

But we now know that the world is now being forced to look at the problem in the eyes instead of the turning the other way as it had done in the past. People are starting to take notice and demanding change. And although the change starts small, it is nonetheless starting.

When we begin to have a serious conversation about the problem and how this affects us, then we can start to talk about the solution, so that the world of tomorrow is the paradise we so much want it to be instead of the barren land we are slowly creating. And maybe one day, the Sunis of the world will not have to be protected by us for the things that are caused because of us.

 

To follow the story of Raju the Elephant please click this link.

http://www.wildlifesos.org/category/tags/elephants

If you wish to donate towards conservation of some of these species, please donate at:

World Wildlife Fund http://gifts.worldwildlife.org/gift-center/gifts/Species-Adoptions/African-Rhino.aspx?sc=AWY1302WC900

For more information about the rhino horn trade please visit:

http://www.wildaid.org/sites/default/files/resources/WEBReportRhinoHornDemand2014.pdf

http://www.ifaw.org/sites/default/files/ifaw-criminal-nature-2013-low-res_0.pdf

And for an interesting, related article, check out the following link.

http://www.viralnova.com/animals-that-kill-humans/