Some More Thoughts.
I get all sorts of information coming at me on Facebook from many of my socially conscious friends and plenty of these posts get me thinking about all sorts. One that caught my attention the other day is a post against the Guangxi Yulin Dog-Meat Festival in China. This is a festival where thousands of dogs are slaughtered and eaten in a week long festival. Of course I was revolted by the idea of eating dogs and apparently in the past the dogs were slaughtered in the streets in full view. This goes against the grain for most of us in the West and the post was asking for support to help stop the festival. I got to thinking about this and my initial thinking was although I was "offended" by the idea(we have a dog and she is part of the family) I also thought about my judging other cultures and their activities. After all, other countries eat dogs and other cultures eat all sorts of things that we would not touch even if we were near death from starvation. We eat Cows, which are sacred in India and we eat pork which is not Kosher for the Jews. Horse is eaten in some Central Asian countries also, which is another meat the west has an aversion to, probably mainly due to the fact that horses are also pets for many people. No doubt people have been eating dog for thousands of years, but I'll leave it alone thanks. So although I got to a place where I could be ok with people eating dogs, I was still not at all impresses by the whole Idea of this festival and the practices undertaken. There is considerable support, even in China itself, to stop this festival. Of course the locals themselves are not impressed with outsider reaction and fall back on the age old excuse that it is part of their Culture. Again I got to thinking who am I to judge another's Culture and the customs that define that culture. Many people seem to think that Cultures are somehow sacred, unchanging, and are forever, but that is not true, all cultures change and evolve in reaction to the changing world which informs them, and it looks to me that many people defend particularly horrid and destructive practices in that they are part of their Culture and are therefore beyond reproach. So I'm taking another approach now, the world isn't a bunch of isolated Cultures any more, all cultures are open to scrutiny of all other cultures and many are found wanting in our modern and supposedly civilised world. Claiming Cultural imperatives is not longer acceptable for those "Primitive" Cultures who think it is their God given right to rape their women, to slaughter seals as part of a "Manhood rite", To kill the female babies in their families, to mutilate female sexual organs, To sell their children into slavery, to exterminate another culture because it is not like them, and the list goes on. Yes we should stand up and protest against these cultural depravities because they create so many victims, it might be "cultural" to treat Women the way they do in Saudi-Arabia but do the Women like it? I doubt it, but they are not allowed to voice their unhappiness at the way they are treated. Finally, don't for a moment think that I think that our Western Culture is Perfect. One of the defining things of Western Culture is Economy and it has become our god. A god of such appetites that it may yet lead to the destruction of the human race and the planet we inhabit, but that is another post altogether.