A Job for the Living
The dead cannot cry out for justice. It is a duty of the living to do so for them. -Lois McMaster Bujold
Two years ago today, October 27, 2012, Qumquat and her family were living their last day together. The blog post and photographs are shared from A Beating Heart, in memorium of this beautiful family.
In Memorium – Qumquat And Her Family
October 27, 2012 – I’m guessing that the day dawned like so many others before it for Qumquat and her beloved family. This iconic matriarch of the Amboseli National Park – that straddles Kenya and Tanzania – carried the wisdom of her ancestors in her strong and noble heart. Tending to her herd with a keen understanding of her importance as their leader – calm – strong – loving – loyal – possessing great emotional intellgence and an uncanny wisdom carried down through the generations. She was magnificent.
This epic photograph of Qumquat and her family was taken on October 27, 2012 by the brilliant photographer Nick Brandt –
The Founder of Big Life Foundation.
I imagine that the cool morning gave way to a warm afternoon as the elephant herd watered, grazed – wandered and followed a daily pattern both familiar to and loved by them. Allowing play time for the babies but still keeping the young ones in check. Teaching moments for little elephants from wise and caring parents.
I think of the horror as poachers approached the herd on October 28, 2012 – the turmoil, the trumpeting – the awful noise and screaming – the dust – trying desperately to reach their young – the fear as these majestic elephants started to break and fall. The dying not immediate – the pain and terror as their tusks were hacked out with axes or saws. The frenzied humans – joyful – crazed by greed – dripping sweat – imagining the coming bounty - oblivious to the killing of a family. Inhuman. Incapable of understanding the carnage and loss as these elephants lay dying - their mighty hearts slowing and then experiencing one final beat as they were claimed by death.
On October 28, 2012 Qumquat and 11 of her family lay dead and butchered for their ivory. Only Baby Quanza survived and she is at the DSWT – safe from harm and well loved.
Qumquat was 43 years old.
Why And For What?
TRINKETS – for self-absorbed, ignorant, entitled, rich, status conscious people.
There will be a reckoning for the poachers – the middlemen – the criminals – the corrupt governments and the nations involved in these atrocities. We know who you are - you know who you are. You can hide behind your self-righteousness – your wealth – your power and corruption and your diplomatic immuity but you cannot escape the laws of the Universe no matter how hard you try.
You have the blood of innocents on your collective hands as does every person who handles ivory – buys ivory – carves ivory or displays ivory … any time – anywhere. You are complicit. You can never say “I did not know that an elephant had to die”. You may think that you are immune from accountability – but you are not. Your actions will follow you – perhaps in an illness – an accident – the tragic loss of someone dear to you that confounds your senses – maybe your son or daughter. When these things occur in your life – and they will – remember the time when you were a willing participant in what you knew was morally wrong – and you always know!
To Qumquat - we offer you a humble memorial this day – the anniversary of your death and the loss of your family. We stand in your name with our heads bowed and our hearts heavy with grief. We will not forget you – we will not let you down – we will not let your passing from this world go unchallenged.
We do not apologize with the empty words “we are sorry” – instead a ground swell of consciousness is arising in your name – and in that way – we will honour you across time and space – with our actions on behalf of all animals living in peril.
In Memorium – Qumquat And Her Family
I Choose To Publish This In Memory Of The Last Day Of Their Lives – October 27, 2012 – Not On The Day of Their Deaths!