Wednesday 29 July 2015

So what about Cecil?


The anguish all over the social media about Cecil, the popular lion who was shot dead in Zimbabwe with a bow and arrow by a dentist from Minnesota.

It is a non-story which soft hearted soft headed people care a lot about. And it is the silly season. Even so it seems inane. Had this dentist killed a dog would that be as bad? A fox?
Scratch people who are very concerned about animals, like Cecil the lion who was shot dead, and you often find people who don't like people. Hunting lions is permitted and so very many human beings are killed each day, so why the commotion over a lion?
So many people in Zimbabwe live in terrible circumstances, as they do throughout the world, even in Belgrave Square. Zimbabwe, by the way, has the 20th highest murder rate of the 190-odd countries in the world.
I suppose it's because animals are not self-conscious that many prefer them to men. That's the difference - animals, like children, have not eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

What is very important about this story - and oddly enough it is important - is not the death of a lion, painful and illegal though it was but the savage persecution of this man by the mob.This is not just about social media but about the way a mob mentality unthinkingly persecutes. As A.J. Balfour said, society is always persecuting but social media make it very easy to ruin people's lives. Every man his own tabloid newspaper.

In the 1970s and 80s most of the big game in the national parks in Mozambique was shot and eaten. This doesn't outrage me. War, hunger and communism were to blame. Everyone talks about apartheid, never about the suffering wrought by communists in Africa, which was much greater.


  1. It is not about the lion, obviously. It is about the moral fraud. You don't go and pay for illegal hunting of a protected animal just for your fun and validation and then pretend you didn't know it was illegal. People are reacting to this issue. Thank God we are not in the 70s and 80s anymore, and nowadays information goes around fast.

  2. "In the 1970s and 80s most of the big game in the national parks in Mozambique was shot and eaten. this doesn't outrage me. War, hunger and communism were to blame." That was less than desirable, either, and extreme times are a better excuse for the killing of animals than the personal pleasure of a fat-faced dentist. It is true that reaction and outrage on social media are excessive. However, the lion, unlike a deer or boar, is extremely rare and the killing comes at a time when people are concerned about rare animals being wiped out forever. Plus as Ms Postelnicu points out the hunter relied on bribery and lies to bag his kill. Not the worst crime in the world, but not great.