Regaining our Perspective: Raising Awareness of our Precious Animal & Plant Heritage

Friday, 14 September 2012

Of Rhinos and Rawballs

(Originally written 26 August 2011)

This, hot off the press in the wake of the disgusting wanton destruction of 2 rhinos at Aquila game reserve in the Western Cape on 25 August. In particular ABSA, the first rhino reintroduced back into the Western Cape after they had been all shot out in the previous century by so-called "sportsmen", and who had fathered new offspring, met a terrible and protracted end, taking 5 days to die. Another rhino was hacked to death with machetes and pangas in order that the poachers could take the horns.

Animals - all animals - are precious to us. They are uncorrupted and unspoiled. They know a thing or 2 about getting on with the business of living and not screwing everything up for everything else in the ecosystem. Of course they do - they are a product of nature - it's only man who is utterly and completely corrupt, who has surrendered (willingly, I might add) his soul and integrity for a fast buck, for a way to scramble over the bodies of his fellow man en-route supposedly to instant fame, "success" and riches (not necessarily in that order).

You see humankind has been given or has developed "superior intelligence" in order to take dominion over the earth and everything in it. The problem with this is that as a species, we're not particularly intelligent - at least all the evidence tends to point to the fact that when it comes to anyone other than the human race (and more specifically : ourselves), we are the nastiest bunch of lowlife hypocrites that ever dragged their sorry asses across the face of this planet. Monty Python sang :

"So remember when you're feeling very small and insecure
How amazingly unlikely is your birth
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!"

And they were right. Let's give attention to something the American comedian George Carlin said. And he may have said it as part of his comendy act, but this is deadly serious :

"We're so self-important. So arrogant. Everybody's going to save something now. Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save the snails. And the supreme arrogance? Save the planet! Are these people kidding? Save the planet? We don't even know how to take care of ourselves; we haven't learned how to care for one another. We're gonna save the fuckin' planet? . . . And, by the way, there's nothing wrong with the planet in the first place. The planet is fine. The people are fucked! Compared with the people, the planet is doin' great. It's been here over four billion years . . . The planet isn't goin' anywhere, folks. We are! We're goin' away. Pack your shit, we're goin' away. And we won't leave much of a trace. Thank God for that. Nothing left. Maybe a little Styrofoam. The planet will be here, and we'll be gone. Another failed mutation; another closed-end biological mistake."

Now I'm not a prude but I don't necessarily always agree with the man's choice of language, however I think he's got a point here. The Cree Indians said it in a more genteel manner :

"When the last tree is cut, when the last river has been poisoned, when the last fish has been caught, then we will find out that we can't eat money" - Cree Indian Prophecy

Think about that. "Oh it won't affect us - we can buy our way out of trouble and retire to our own private island". Oh yes? And breathe what? Sulphur Dioxide perhaps? Wake up dope. Every time you stand by and do nothing as another greedy business venture lays claim to hitherto unspoiled natural resources, you are passively condoning the ongoing pillage and destruction of our Earth. Why is there no universal agreement on a clean air policy - with deadlines for enforcement? Because it's going to cost too much to implement and it will "hurt the economy".

Gee whiz! Has anyone noticed but most of the world's economies are already a shambles - particularly the US and Eurozone. Don't blame the environmentalists - humankind's greed did it to you. And if you don't get off your fat asses and do something immediately, we are well on the way to irreversible climate change in less than 50 years. You don't have to believe it - it makes no difference. You're still going to get hurt by it. You don't have to believe in gravity either - but if you walk off a cliff, you're going to break some bones, or worse.

But let's get back to rhinos. So the ignorant masses "out there" believe that if they use a pinch of powdered rhino horn here and a touch there, they will achieve health, strength, youth and an everlasting erection. But it really is irrelevant what they believe - all that is important to the poaching syndicates is that these people are willing to part with inordinate amounts of cash in exchange for rhino horn. And that this is BIG business shows : poachers who have access to helicopters, night vision glasses, schedule 7 drugs, automatic weapons and all the wherewithal to smuggle the horn out of the country and into the willing arms of the buyers. These are not amateurs looking to make a quick buck for a bottle at the end of the week. Nope - these include doctors, lawyers, well-to-do "businessmen" etc. - one at least of whom has the cash to buy a whole bunch of rhino and then slaughter them for their horn.

So I go onto the web and google rhino poaching and follow a few links to a case where a poaching syndicate has been rounded up and is being tried (with many remands and delays). And I go through the narrative and look at the pictures, and what do I see (apart from butchery being practised on rhinos)?

I see Rawballs. Capital R.

When I was a kid, we had a name for someone displaying uncouth, lowlife appearance, evidence of bad or no manners - as the English in the last century called it "a boor" - i.e. boorish behaviour. The dictionary definition of boorish is :

Adj. 1. boorish - ill-mannered and coarse and contemptible in behavior or appearance; "was boorish and insensitive"; "the loutish manners of a bully"; "her stupid oafish husband"; "aristocratic contempt for the swinish multitude"

loutish, neanderthal, oafish, swinish, neandertal

unrefined - (used of persons and their behavior) not refined; uncouth; "how can a refined girl be drawn to such an unrefined man?"

In South Africa, we call that "a Rawball", and if you study some of the images of these poachers, you will see the sly oafish leer of the overconfident gutter rawball, who thinks they are above the law.

I pray it will not be so, and that the syndicate shown in this web reference, and all the other poaching syndicates get to reap the just rewards of their actions. And I'm thinking of something more terminal or of longer duration than their momentary ill-gotten wealth. Something cold, hard and dark. For a very long time - if they are not killed by anti-poaching patrols first.

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