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Monday, February 10, 2014

Marius the Giraffe's Life and The Worth of Human

Marius the Giraffe
Photo credit: EPA/Keld navntoft / February 7, 2014

Once again, I am witnessing how human life has been valued, by other human, less than animal. Does it make me a bad person if I did not want to live in this planet anymore, or at least with this petty human sub-group?

Seriously. You can muster all your thoughts and opinions about why Marius the giraffe shouldn't be killed, but the question remains: if, let's just say if, he was 'pardoned', what will you do about it? How you will ensure a healthy and happy life for him? Donations would be a good idea, either to provide him a proper permanent living place (giraffe haven on earth, probably) or send him away to another zoo. Yet, how much do you think it would cost? I assume transferring animals especially big ones like giraffes wouldn't come cheap, check out this link for ideas on how complicated animal transfers could be. Nor keeping them alive and healthy for a long time. Someone has been willing to donate 50,000 euros (roughly $68,000) for Marius' sake, so let's use that as a guidance. Based on UC Davis research, that number is enough to support 3 (yes, THREE) family of 4 for one whole year. Think about that, one giraffe's life and moving expenses is enough to support a total of 12 people; it is enough for a year of open opportunity for these people. Why is our priority so twisted?

Somehow, we think it is inhumane to kill cute animals and helpless children (or fetuses) regardless of the reason. People were literally wishing the doctor and the family of a brain-dead pregnant Texas woman to "Rot in Hell!!!" when they decided to cut her life support and allowing her unborn baby to die with her, even though it is said that the baby/fetus is not viable and the mother had been officially dead for weeks. Again, what will you do with the baby, if it was able to born? Will you provide the necessary funding for his/her life? How will you support him/her emotionally if he/she was born with congenital defects and have to spend his/her life in agony? And how will you help him/her to cope up with the emotional anguish when he/she knew that his/her mom was kept on life support even though she was already dead weeks before just to ensure he/she were viable and could be born?  And if he/she lives to the ripe age of, say 60 years old, can you make sure you are there for him/her since you are so insistent on keeping him/her alive? Those responsibilities sound daunting, don't you think?

Ah.... The sweet, sweet life....

It is time we understand that there is such thing as quality of life. Just walking, living, breathing in this earth does not mean it is enough. What is life if you have to live it without love and in fear the rest of your life, because you were born without love and in such poor living condition? What is life if it was so harsh and painful and sad you feel death is a much better option? What is life if you know that there is no way out of your current living condition and you will be forced to see your children live the same way you do and then their children and so forth because there is no way out? Tell me, is this life? Some (both whom had experienced such harshness and those who haven't) would say yes, and that life is indeed beautiful. But each person is different, how is it us to judge that people should indeed appreciate life to the fullest despite its hardness if we do not walk in their shoe? Some people indeed have shitty life, some did it to themselves and some were just born into unfortunate condition; how can we keep a straight face and say "You should appreciate your life!" when they themselves are so unhappy and sad and couldn't find anything worth living? Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights said: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Assuming this description is used to define the quality of life, how many of us already reach such state of bliss? Some people still think I am lesser because I am not from US. If you read comments on controversial articles (black vs white crime, illegal immigrants, LGBT etc), or any article in that matter, there are so many name calling in which each party derogate another party. Or in daily life, how many of you would smile genuinely to the person next to you even though he/she look intimidating or homeless or just weird? How many of you manage to not flinch when this intimidating/disheveled/unkempt person with the mad look in his/her eyes approach you for a change? And how many of you can give a mentally disabled person or a sad homeless man/woman a genuine hug because you too believe he/she is worth it, that he/she is still human?

And even if we can reach such state, to be free and equal in dignity and rights, it is still not enough. Human were given such advantages (e.g. speech, reasoning, manipulating with our limbs) not just so we can live our live in peace like some cows in the farms. It is not enough to just born-learn-being an adult-having family-die, we human need to make an impact on this world. Don't the Christian talked about this, about being the hands of God? And also Muslim and other religion. The religious group would say it is to spread the kindness of the Lord, but you can also see it (pragmatically) as a way to better ourselves. With kindness come understanding and empathy, and it is so much better (and whole lot easier) to live your life in peace as oppose to live it in fear and hatred. In Hindu we believe the deed we done in this life (karma) will go towards the next reincarnation. Who's to say that Marius' death was useless and not meant to happen? What if his death-for-science-and-food allow him to gain a bit more Karma point and he could be reincarnated into a better life, even as human perhaps? Life is about these chances, to better ourselves and the life of others around us. Have we manage to do this, to evolve into a better person and have a complete, fulfilling life? Can we say for sure, in our deathbed, that life is indeed grand and beautiful and we have no regret for anything? And if we did, have we ensure that others around us can do this too?

Nephew: Mom and Dad are the best!!!

After all said and done, the death threats seemed so unnecessarily childish. Even for the "offense" of dissecting it in front of audience and children, I personally think it is a great opportunity for the children to truly realize what a magnificent creature Marius was. Compare this to 8 or 9 year old who plays GTA V and see the violence in it, which do you think would be more beneficial to the child? Don't give me crap saying GTA has parental rating because I know how easy it is to override such rating, at least in Marius' dissection if the parents said no and refuse to take the child to the zoo the child wouldn't be able to see it at all (and even if the child manage to overcome the No part it is still a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as oppose to everyday access to video games). If you are worried about children getting whacked up because of Marius' dissection, worried about your own sons and daughters in this era of video game violence and overtly sexual experiences and harsh anonymous criticism on the internet. If you are angry about Marius getting killed even though he is healthy, be angry to anyone who didn't finish their food because it means the produce died in vain (yes, last time I checked even herbs and quinoa and veggies were alive before you eat them). If you are mad about a child's life ended before he/she was born because his/her mother decide to end it, mad about the harsh life that a lot of children has to endure because his/her mother decide to keep them (which includes smaller lunch and even had their lunch taken because their parents didn't pay the normal lunch fee). If you think a giraffe's life worth giving death threats to other people and make their life miserable, or if you think it is appropriate to call names to an already grieving family that were forced to lose the unborn child and its mother, or if you think you have the authority to force a child living a harsh difficult life just because you think life is precious, then you need to stop and think what really made you worthy as human. Empathy, love, kindness, and restrain; without these we are nothing but useless animal. Now, what are you?

PS: I am not Pro-abortion or Pro-life, I am pro-quality of life.; therefore I campaign about the importance of birth control method and the right for a child to have a father and a mother (translation: don't get a child when you are not ready, especially not with an asshole - and yes, women can be assholes too). I am not a vegan but I tried my hardest to make every part of the produce useful, because throwing out edible produce just because I had enough or not interested anymore is a great disrespect to the source animal/vegetable. And yes, I try to make the world a better place to live, at the very least for those around me. It's nice to have a goal in life.

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