Gods, I’m talkative today. Abraxas’ fault.
Here are two scenarios which actually happened, on Monday and Tuesday this week:
1) 5:30 am and the road is quiet – just a big white bakkie coming the other way, and us on the road. A few metres after passing the bakkie, we see a limp mass in the road. A cat has been knocked over.
Stopping, I see it is a half-grown kitten. Somebody’s family, judging by the pink-and-white collar with a bell around hir neck.
The cat is trying to get up, but can’t – hir injuries must be extensive. She looks at me out of huge hazel eyes and breathes slowly. Warren gets a sign board and we move hir onto it. In the next few moments, bubbles of blood form at mouth and nose, and all hir sphincters let go.
S/he’s passed, and I whisper a little encouragement to hir spirit.
We move cat and board onto the side of the road, so that when the family comes looking, they won’t find an unidentifiable heap of guts and fur.
At least their family member didn’t die alone on the road.
But please don’t tell me that driver of the white bakkie didn’t know he’d hit an animal – I don’t believe it.
2)From the Osiris smokers’ balcony we look down across the first-floor smokers’ balcony, which is planted with Petunias and Agapanthus along the edge, as well as 3 small Cape Ash trees.
Why Cape Ash, I don’t know-these trees can grow fairly big, and then there will either be a ripping and tearing of cement, or more likely the trees will be tossed.
For some unknown godsdamned reason, the company who ‘owns’ these trees (I’m looking at you, Brandhouse) wants them pruned into shapes resembling giant lollipops. The garden service comes along and obliges, showering the courtyard below with twigs, leaves – and an inhabited Sparrows’ nest.
These two Sparrows are a regular feature of our mornings at work. Having been born inside our company offices a couple of years ago, they’ve nested in the immediate area long enough to raise two families of chicks.
Now here comes these giant shears swooping in from nowhere, demolishing their carefully-wrought home.
OK, I know what a Sparrow’s nest looks like – no work of art to you or me, but it’s their functional, living home, by all that’s holy.
These gardening-service-folks are lambasted by myself and The Moffie, but all they do is grin while admitting they’ve thrown the nest over the railing.
Now, I don’t mean to imply that the white bakkie driver or the gardening service employees are arch villains whose actions will bring an end to the natural world all by themselves.By no means. They’re just ordinary Joes, going about their business daily.
What these two incidents do illustrate very, very clearly is the principle of hierarchical violence.
It may only legitimately flow in one direction, you see – down the pyramid. Anyone lower in the order who attempts to commit violence up the slope will find themselves dead pretty damn quickly. And their voices silenced.
Imagine those two Sparrows attacking the gardeners successfully. It’s not going to happen, and if it did, those’d be two stone dead Sparrows, I guarantee you.
Violence from ‘higher’ to ‘lower’ in the hierarchy is, on the other hand, frequently invisible and never retaliated against. Try petrol bombing a bank sometime.
This is the culture we live in. The Culture of Make Believe, where nonhuman animals are not considered to be life, but resources, and disposable ones at that.
The continuation of this mindset, this hierarchy, this civilisation is what is destroying our Mother and leaving ourselves and our children, and all the nonhuman life within Her, without a landbase. Or with a landbase so virulently poisoned that it is totally nonviable.
It’s got to stop. It’s got to stop now.