Let Cecil the lion’s death shine light on Zimbabwe’s human rights abuses (COMMENTARY)

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Stuffed animals left by protesters block the doorway of River Bluff Dental clinic in Bloomington, Minn., after the killing of a famous lion in Zimbabwe, July 28, 2015. Wildlife officials on Tuesday accused an American hunter of killing Cecil, one of the oldest and most famous lions in Zimbabwe, without a permit after paying $50,000 to two people who lured the beast to its death. The lion was lured out of Hwange National Park using a bait and was shot by dentist Walter James Palmer. Photo courtesy REUTERS/David Bailey

Stuffed animals left by protesters block the doorway of River Bluff Dental clinic in Bloomington, Minn., after the killing of a famous lion in Zimbabwe, July 28, 2015. Wildlife officials on Tuesday accused an American hunter of killing Cecil, one of the oldest and most famous lions in Zimbabwe, without a permit after paying $50,000 to two people who lured the beast to its death. The lion was lured out of Hwange National Park using a bait and was shot by dentist Walter James Palmer. Photo courtesy REUTERS/David Bailey

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(RNS) The Internet melted when news broke that a Minnesota dentist had killed Zimbabwe’s most beloved big cat. Allow me to steal Cecil’s spotlight for a moment with five facts about the country’s egregious human rights record.

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  • You make excellent points. The death of Cecil at first glance seems insignificant in the face of the atrocities you outline in your article. But to me Cecil’s death speaks to something bigger: a worldwide problem of privilege – white privilege regarding the now infamous dentist, but also privilege of wealth and ego – patriarchal privilege. Worldwide women, children, the old, the infirm are being murdered or hurt in some way. ISIS has no problem killing anyone who gets in the way of their mission. Grieving Cecil is a way for many to take insurmountable evil and put it into a collective howl. Maybe a roar. The sheer arrogance of luring an animal from its shelter and murdering it is a stand-in for so much more.

  • Greg1

    I agree that an animal is an animal, but where is the mention here of the unborn who are being slaughtered in the womb here in America?

  • Stan

    Uh, Greg, stop trying to insert your agenda.

    And what a lowly attempt you made at that, and what a sneaky tactic, too. You stink.

  • Greg1

    Stan, the writer brought up every comparison but the most pertinent one. I only wanted to point out his oversight. The point being we have no room to criticize the Zimbabwe government on secondary matters, when we have bigger issues. What’s the saying? People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?

  • Billysees

    Joy,
    ” Grieving Cecil is a way for many to take insurmountable evil and put it into a collective howl. Maybe a roar. The sheer arrogance of luring an animal from its shelter and murdering it is a stand-in for so much more. ”

    How true.

  • Larry

    Until you can find a way to put a fetus under protective custody, all you are saying is you think women are nothing more than breeding receptacles. Your agenda is very much like like Robert Mugabe’s.

    Stan is right, your reference was self-serving irrelevant nonsense for this article.

  • Anita Manning

    It is possible to weep for the people AND the animals of Zimbabwe. As an individual, there is little I can do to get Mugabe out of office or to change the government of that country. But I can express outrage over the disgusting practice of luring an animal to a place where it can be wounded and hunted for 40 agonizing hours before being killed. I can express outrage over rich men paying lots of money to kill animals for fun and to remind themselves that they’re at the top of the food chain. I can contribute to organizations that protect animals and also to organizations that help humans.

  • Jack

    I applaud Brian Pellot for drawing much-needed attention to the human rights abuses of Mugabe.

    Regarding poor Cecil the Lion, it should be added that Mugabe is himself quite a poacher…..he is part of the problem that leads to the indiscriminate slaughter of animals like Cecil.

    While I don’t believe in formal animal rights, I believe that the same values that animate human rights naturally extend to treating animals far better. God’s creation merits our respect and care. While environmental extremists and animal rights activists often take this to absurd lengths, human beings have a responsibility to be good stewards of an environment they share with other creatures.

  • Jack

    Stan, Greg did precisely what Brian Pellot did; he moved from the issue of an outrageous killing of a lion to the mistreatment of human beings. While Pellot confined his extension to Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Greg extended it beyond. Who’s to say that one sort of extension is legit while the other isn’t?

    And why does Greg “stink” regarding his extension? If your problem is deeply personal, that is not his problem, but your own.

  • Jack

    Agreed, Anita. Well said.

  • Jack

    No, Stan wants his own sacred cow of abortion to get a special dispensation here….and he’s enraged that Greg won’t grant it.

  • Jack

    The obvious question here is whether the killer of the lion can be held accountable. I hope this can be done.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    The media and the internet go on meltdown over an animal while much of the media seems to care little about the news of the clearly barbaric practices of PP. toward human babies. In fact some are more interested in killing the messenger for revealing truths some want very much to be hidden

  • Jack

    Human beings come first and shame on the media for not caring enough, but there’s plenty of time and space for the media to cover the mistreatment of animals, too. All they need do is spend less time covering all the twists and turns of celebrity lives — like who lost or put on weight or who’s breaking up with whom.

  • Jack

    Concern about animals is very humane and speaks well of those displaying it. Those who are cruel to animals are typically cruel to people. The key is to have a world view that is roomy enough to include both people and animals — elevating both, while at the same time not totally equating the two. Those who equate the two completely end up pulling down humanity rather than elevating animals.

  • dorapit

    You see a story that heavily details how Cecil is ultimately one small symptom of a country suffering under a brutal black dictator who, among many other things, has prosecuted, murdered, and expelled the white population, and your response is how it’s about white privilege. Get out.

  • Fran

    Human lives matter…animal lives matter….it’s all pretty simple, but mostly ignored in this world of ours today…and which won’t always be the case.

  • diggerjohn99

    You forgot to mention the massacre of the Ndebele. 20,000 massacred because they MAY have opposed Mugabe.

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  • Jack

    Absolutely, Fran. The Bible foretells a day when humanity and nature will be redeemed and there will be no killing anymore.

  • Larry

    Unless they are pregnant women. Then their existence is purely theoretical to rhetoric like Greg’s.

  • Larry

    No, Stan wanted to keep the discussion reasonably related to the topic.
    If you want to discuss abortion, do it in an article pertaining to it.

  • Jack

    Greg made the same kind of extension as the author did; thus if one extension is okay, so is the other. It’s a difference in degree, not a difference in kind.

    This obviously pressed a button or two in “Stan.”

  • Fran

    Ditto, Jack! And I can’t wait for that (Micah 4:3,4; Isaiah 11:6-8) to happen! ?

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  • Jack

    Well, Fran, that’s where we premil Christians and you JWs agree…on what we call the coming millennium.