Friday, 15 May 2009

The Paradox of Human Empathy

This afternoon I signed an online petition, which has doubtless ensured my name secures a place at the top of some asinine Homeland Security senior citizen subversive / potential domestic terrorist watch list.
Yes, a budding threat to world peace and the survival of Western civilisation I have now become – by signing a petition to preserve a colony of countryside rooks.

The ‘Save the Rooks’ campaign was recently launched to protect the Corvid species of that name who nest at the Rookery in Dunham Massey, Cheshire – on rural and park lands owned by the National Trust. A serene location that is so quiet one can almost hear their hair growing.

Manchester International Airport has deemed, in its Numpty Dumpty approach to fact and logic, that the rooks are a threat to airline safety and were planning to send a team of nasty morons to shoot them. This was initially planned for 30th April 2009 but a postponement has been achieved by the Save the Rooks protest.

The bird colony has been living and nesting in this area for centuries – long before the unfortunate advent of the passenger aeroplane. The birds live and circle in a localised area near to the Rookery where there is an abundance of food.

While it is blatantly braodcast by the usual prevasive HSE rhetoric that human safety is paramount over all else, and that the prevention of bird strikes is essential, the birds pose no threat to the Airport – several miles away - as they do not fly in that area.

The pro-Rookers believe that the problem should be addressed first by using appropriate deterrents - and eliminating scavenger-attractive rubbish and carrion - in and around the Airport– a regular food source that also attracts migrating birds in winter.

The Rooks are a significant part of the cycle of life in Dunham Massey and their loss will create devastating and irreversible damage to the localised balance of Nature. Hence if the Rookery is on Manchester Airport’s take-off or landing flight paths then the effing planes need to be flying a wee bit higher.

Point made – poor rooks – and rightly so! Thus public outcry halted the intended extermination and the rooks are safe – for now.

But that’s human nature. Someone initiates a petition – online or sign in the market square – and every fucker and their dog are up and running - flopping quid coins – and fivers n tenners - into charity buckets to save a colony of mange-ridden festering meerkats in the Kalahari Desert, decimated by drought.

‘Decimated by drought’ – does anyone stop and think for a single moment why these numpty mongoose-like viverrines are dying of thirst before chucking money at a lost cause?

They’re living in a fucking desert, for Christ’s sake – where droughts are the norm – and according to Al Bore and his global warming panic-mongering, things aren’t going to get any better – or wetter - in the short term – until the ocean levels rise to the extent they flood the deserts and drown all the sodding meerkats.

But that’s human compassion where poor cuddly little furry mammals etc. are concerned.

Seal pups getting bonked on the head by nasty men with clubs, oil-slicked cormorants washed up on a beach, redundant ferrets chucked into wheelie bins.
Superfluous kittens and puppies – now past their viable ‘play-with’ date, stuck in a sack – weighted down with credit card bills and mortgage demands - and lobbed into the local canal to save feeding them any longer.
Goldfish flushed down toilets, budgie stuck up chimneys, malnourished bunny rabbits – all are guaranteed to elicit a public outcry.

By all means save the whales and prevent polar bears from drowning, but is that the extent of human empathy?
Oh yes, outcries concerning Baby P’ and others of his unfortunate ilk, that social services failed to protect; but does this compassion only exist for cuddly pets and children of our own immediate tribe?

How about a couple of quid in the charity can or a strong letter to your MP or the editor of some gutter press tabloid for the marginalised and disadvantaged Third World children suffering the ‘slings and arrows’ of their outrageous neo-imperialist / colonialist military oppressors.

How about a global public outcry from the bleeding heart animal lovers for the civilian women and children killed or maimed for life by the military’s indiscriminate bombings and shootings in Afghanistan, Iraq and Gaza – Somalia, Darfur, DR Congo, Eritrea etc, et al – the list is nigh-on endless.

How about a tear for these innocent civilian non-combatants – children exposed to the airborne detrius of radioactive depleted uranium ordnance that creeps silently into their DNA.

If we got the same public outcry for a Palestinian child torn apart by Israeli DIME ordnance as we do about some abandoned kittens tossed in a garbage can then the UN might actually get off its useless complacent ass and do something positive to live up to their charter.

Alas, such is the unconscious hypocrisy of human empathy.

Juxtaposed to this psychological phenomenon we have the barbaric morons who would solve any problem - by shooting it – viz Manchester Airport and the erroneous belief that Dunham’s rooks are a possible bird strike threat.

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