I am going to premise this blog by indicating to you, that there are many different views on this issue right now. The views have two common denominators, firstly, there is the western media perspective and those inclined to that disposition, who are apoplectic with rage concerning the untimely death of Cecil the lion. Secondly, there is another demographic of people who are angry that the other group is angry about a “mere” animals’ death, while ignoring the many issues that plague Zimbabweans and Africans. My take is, both sides of the argument have probative value.
- Is it fair to judge people based on what grieves them? A lion gets killed in Zimbabwe, a huge outcry ensues…an MP (who is a human, Itai Dzamara) in Zim is abducted no similar outcry. Personally I found myself affected by both. It’s my first time to feel sad about the passing of a lion I never met nor saw, nor knew about until today. I am not going to pretend to be an animal activist but I found myself touched by the killing of Cecil. At the same time I am saddened that many pertinent issues affecting Zimbabweans and Africans at large, rarely get a similar global response. But I will not judge those saddened by Cecil the Zim lion’s killing, nor will I equate animal life to human life.
- A burden for an issue cannot and should not be forced. Personally I have a burden for Africa particularly the upliftment of every one on this great continent. But guess what, not every one has that burden, and it’s fine. It is not my place to force it down the throat of my fellow Africans. Even if I forced it on someone, they will never get it. Likewise I don’t’ really have a burden for animals,and it can’t be forced on me, but I felt something today. Feeling it for a moment doesn’t make it now a burden nor a personal crusade, it’s just a subjective reaction and there is nothing wrong with it.
- This “hashtag” generation we live in has a very low attention span. We move from one hashtag to another hashtag. Our daily agenda is now dictated by twitter trends and social media buzz. There are many evils which have transpired on our beautiful continent this year, but unless it’s a hashtag, nobody cares. If they do care, it’s for a moment and then off to the next twitter trend.
- Too easily offended. The number one pass time on social media is offence. It’s almost like, people are looking for something that will make them angry. In this case, some are angry because Cecil got killed, some are angry that people are angry that Cecil got killed. Here I am, typing this blog angry because I understand why they are angry that Cecil died and I also understand why the other side is angry that they are angry about Cecil. Less anger and more understanding is needed.
- We love extremes. What if I told you it is possible to understand and feel both sides of the argument? It is possible to feel for and understand what the Cecil sympathisers are dealing with at the same time feel the pain of people who feel as if an animal is being valued more than a human being. It is possible to feel for the death of a lion and at the same time not lose your burden and compassion for the African plight.
- African lives matter. After the Cecil dust settles, there is still a continent that has more problems than Cecil. Indeed and in fact, Cecil’s death is just a tip of the iceberg of the problems we are facing. The offence with many Africans relates to the global outcry of the death of an animal, while other pertinent issues affecting humans go ignored. We matter too.
- The Esau mindset. In my earnest view, the hunting business though lucrative to an extent, is us, as Africans again, selling our birth right for a bowl soup. How do people from abroad come, and kill the animals we have been entrusted by God to keep? They must view them and leave them alone. I don’t see the sport in killing our animals for sport.
- We must champion our own issues. Neither the west nor the east are called to push our agenda, they push their own agenda on the world stage. As Africans let us not get discouraged when people push their agendas and issues to the forefront of our consciousness. We have to keep our issues on the forefront always. They can ignore us for a while but not forever. Keep making noise about the issue you feel is pertinent.
- Prayer still works. No matter what gets thrown our way, we have to always find our strength and guidance in prayer. If I was to pray into this situation, my prayer would be, Lord bring Africa to a place where our tourism doesn’t need hunting business to survive and thrive. Bless our nations so that we don’t sell our birthright for a bowl of soup.
- Find a calling to pour your life into. Do not allow your life to be swayed by social media trends. Find your calling and focus on it with all your might. You were not by God, created to just exists and react to media headlines, you were born to solve a problem in the earth. Find it and dedicate your life to solving it!
In conclusion, RIP Cecil, and for the rest of us in Africa, we keep pressing forward to achieving our destiny.
God Bless You,
Pastor Israel Phiri