Free Speech

480px-Indrah_the_Sumatran_Tiger

Stud_327_with_Blesbuck

Does the tigress have a right

to open her body and welcome inside

an enemy of her sworn male partner?

Yes.

Does the daughter of this forbidden union have a right

To necklace the winds with her calls of arrival

at the ripe age of autumn berries?

Yes.

Does the sworn male partner have a right

to slash the throat of that ripe daughter

of his lover and leave her ecologically precious body

glinting like unspent gold in the sun, all because

when that body did river with blood, it bore the wrong smell?

Yes.

Does the human poacher have a right

to tiptoe through the forest

to cock a rifle

to send a ball of death through the rib cage of the tiger

that murdered the daughter of his sworn lover

does the man have a right

to take that murderous fur and the bone beneath

and sell the fur to make a rich woman beautiful

and sell the bone to breathe movement into a baby’s frozen legs

and all to buy bread for his family?

No.

He does not have that right.

But you and I have the right to write

a story about it, or tell the truth, if it should in any tragic case come to be so

and we have a right to kick and scream

and bury his voice

in a prison of ink and language, without touching

a hair on his impotent head. But that impotent poacher,

does he have the right

to tell whichever ear listens

that he ought to have the right to kill tigers,

that tigers are murderers, that nature is immoral,

that man is supposed to be part of nature, that it is the fault of the rich and beautiful

or of the capitalists who chain price tags to a loaf of bread

or of the Asians who still believe in magic

for providing a market for his crime which, he says

should not be a crime? Yes.

He can say all the above, and more.

And you and I

have the right to listen

and to believe him

but not to stab a body over it

except in the violence of words

the same that imprisoned our species behind the double standard

of morals, of bans on murder

gave us paper wings

so let’s not ban books, even the crappiest of the crap

if it is truly crap, we’ll grow flowers in the wrongness

of the words; they are our only weapons

against the violence

that comes

of silence.

Caspian_tiger,_north_iran

Tiger_in_the_water

Image captions and credits in order of appearance:

“Indrah the [critically endangered] Sumatran Tiger.” By Nichollas Harrison – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30272956

“A South China Tiger with kill.” By China’s Tiger at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12023577

“A [now extinct] Caspian tiger killed in Northern Iran, early 1940’s.” By Unknown – The Tiger Foundation, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33482934

“Malayan tiger in the water.” 2007. By B_cool from SIN, Singapore – originally posted to Flickr as Tiger in the water, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2889616

Note: I got some valuable information on the plight of tigers from the following website, and I’m sure there is more to explore: http://www.tigersincrisis.com/traditional_medicine.htm

 

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