karma will come
May 22, 2012
And so it is and so it goes that what comes around was here before. Boza Ivanovic and I first connected years ago, taking about his work on HIV/AIDS in blighted communities around the world. And though that project did not turn into a book, he began sending me photographs he was taking of animals in zoos. And his photographs, at once striking for their bold graphics and profound portraiture, became a thing to behold as I gazed upon animals whose paths I would never cross.
But the more I looked upon these creatures, the more disturbed I became as I began to see something that wasn’t in the photographs—the bars behind which these animals were jailed. Prisoners, kidnapped from their native lands and put on display, forced into an unnatural environment to entertain humans. Who is the real beast?
Wild animals in captivity, kidnapped or born and raised. Animals who have never seen life as it was meant to be, while we are fed this rhetoric about preservation of the soon-to-be-extinct. At whose hand? And why? And why does that make it okay to strip them of their dignity and force them into cells and made objects of display? Where is it that we think this is okay? And that these animals are not entitled to life on their terms? And where is it that we are superior? Because take away those bars and the weapons and you know who lost.
Life being what it is, Boza has graciously invited me to write the foreword to his book, which will be published by Glitterati Incorporated in Fall 2013. And so it is that he and I have begun to talk and look through photographs and consider these animals on their own terms, and not ours. And so it is that Boza sent me photographs that are not in the book, photographs tragic and disturbing and painful to look upon.
Consider this bull, who is kept caged alone in a room with no windows. This bull who has never felt sunlight upon his face or breathed in fresh air. This mammal who was separated from all other animals and lives alone and un touched, and will live and die in this room for the pleasure of human beings. What kind of sin is this?
Once upon a time I enjoyed zoos; I believed the hype, until the day I saw an elephant slamming the padlock of his cage against the bars with his trunk. It doesn’t take an expert to know what Set Me Free sounds like, and it was at that moment that I realized the elephant understood his fate and I prayed for him. Because everyone around me ignored his cries for help and walked blithely about, as though this was their right. But it’s not a right. It’s just business.
Big business, money to be made. Reminds me of something else. Something we outlawed as inhumane. Slavery, by any other name, would smell just as vile. Slavery, the incarceration of the innocent at the behest of the morally weakest species Nature has ever designed.