Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Remi's fund-raising in honor of Cecil the Lion



Today's post is a serious one but very important both to me and Remi. If this is not your cup of tea, please don't simply "unsubscribe" but come back later in the week, there is plenty of Provence to follow...

Ben froze at the sound of the first shot. At the second, he took off at a run. Kipling, our wiry rascal looked up at me with confusion. Amazingly, Ben is still well-trained enough that I was able to get him into a sit just long enough to slip the leash back on him. All around the outskirts of our village, we could hear the loud firecracker pops. Ben's eyes widened until each one resounded as "fear, fear, fear" and he began to tremble. He strained on the leash as we all headed home at a pace just under a run, to safety in their minds, for today is the opening day of hunting season.

In France, the hunting of most species is highly regulated but you wouldn't think so today for it would seem as if everyone wanted to use up all of their allotments at once for the number of gunshots ringing out at the 11am start time. So now, I will have to be more precise with not only the when of our walks but most certainly the where, as a man was killed last year just beyond the village by his colleague who mistook him for a deer.

As I sat down to type, my heart still beating fast with adrenaline, a mad rush of images flurried through my mind while I tried to flip file my sentiments on the act of hunting. A sentence began to form: "In the different traditional societies that I have had the good fortune to cover in our travels..." pause...what was it that they did? No actually, most of them did not rely on hunting to survive, meat is often precious, rare and agrarian gains were key to nourishment. But that too is changing, as modern society infringes on their lands, certainly that is the case with the Maasai. We are pushing them to change. And certainly we are the ones that have convinced ourselves of the need for hunting to be a sport. 

As I have mentioned repeatedly recently, Remi, my companion, has been creating a tribute to our incredible wildlife in tribute to the needless slaughter of Cecil the Lion. Now, I should say that from the beginning of Lost in Arles, Remi has not wanted to be a part of this blog directly, so this is of my choosing but I know that quite a few of you have been following along. For those of you that are interested, the end of his six weeks of storytelling has culminated in a fund-raising drive for the Frankfurt Zoological Society, whose efforts have already saved 26 black rhinos in the Ngorongoro Crater (and have set up the security to protect the entire animal population) and are now focusing on the very high risk zones of the Serengeti National Park. Remi is calling out to the 31,000 members of his feed as well as the 2.3 million members of the feed for The Photo Society, which features the works of photographers that have been published in National Geographic.

I am incredibly proud of his work but especially so in that Remi, being Remi, has tried to raise the debate beyond just the horrific example of Cecil the Lion's death. I will leave you with his words:

"Last July the killing of Cecil the Lion troubled me deeply. Mankind has definitely become the hyper-predator of planet Earth, who now possess the power to destroy anything we want while changing the global climate as well. And because of this super-power I feel that we have arrived at a turning point in our history and evolution: How can we control our own animality which sleeps in each of us from the dawn of time? It is my feeling that it is the biggest challenge of Mankind ever. To be able to grow together empowered by a vision: Responsible for the planet and respectful to all forms of life. And to do so, our societies should not think about the future as the idea to keep growing anymore, an overdue concept because we have already gone way too far. We should think of the world in terms of creating and keeping Harmony. Harmony versus Growing. The winning concept is the one you choose, yes, you reading here, because everything begins with oneself. From this awareness depends our own survival. On Sunday, pass the word, we will move to action on ig to feed together the Harmony and to balance the bad energy of one of us, a dentist who killed for pleasure."

For those of you on instagram, you can find more information at @remibenali or @thephotosociety

For any of you that are interested in donating directly (thank you!) please go to: www.fzs.org/en/ or if you are in the US you can go directly to: www.us.fzs.or/en/support

Any amount, even a dollar, would be welcome and if you are so inclined and it is tax-deductible.

Please feel free to share this post or Remi's feed on all social media, merci!

There is so much beauty in our world and I am grateful for it.

With my Highest Regards to all of you,
Thank you for being here,
Heather











30 comments:

  1. Beautiful post Heather. And thank you Remi for your beautiful words and your call to attention for the rights of animals. I think Cecil's life is just as precious as that salmon swimming upstream and that's why we should all be vegetarians and call it a day. No harm, no foul. XOXO

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    1. Not a bad idea, beautiful one...Much Love to you...

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  2. Yes, a beautiful post,Heather. Your Remi's feeds on IG has been a beautiful and evocative tale in memory of Cecil the lion! Thoughtful and heart wrenching the prose and breathtaking photos have been my companion first thing in the morning along with my tea. Urging all to hop over to the link given here to donate what they can!
    i have wondered where I can read about your impressions of the this incredible journey that you and Remi took. Did you publish it?
    Again I will add, you are two very special souls destined to be together <3 xx

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    1. Neglected to add...you four be careful on your walks! Get some orange vests for you all ...especially your pups!

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    2. Thank you so very much Trudye! For your kindness, support and interest - plus the excellent advice about the vests!

      As for my article on this story, it was initially published in the French magazine Grands Reportages and then was republished via our agent, Lightmediation. You can see more of the story by clicking here: http://issuu.com/lightmediation/docs/ngorongoro The captions to the photos are in English but, oddly, the text is still in French. Feel free to email me at robinsonheather (at) yahoo.com (with a reference to the article in the subject line so I don't miss it) and I would be happy to send you a copy of the original English version. :)

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  3. Thank you so much Heather! RebeccaNYC

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  4. Heather, Remi is a very special man indeed to take up this endeavor If only all of us would remember the importance of the glorious earth on which we live and share with all creatures! I will go to his links...

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Featuring India Hicks!

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    1. Merci Karena...Yes, there is so much beauty here to be taken care of and appreciated...

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  5. Amen.

    More later when I can say more w/o ranting.

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    1. Looks like that still hasn't happened yet Joan? heeheehee

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  6. Thank you Heather for sharing the information in this post. Remi's statement is most impressive. Those thought-provoking words show us how important individual responsibility is in changing and affecting the whole.
    Glad you are cautious on your walks with the dogs during fall hunting. We in the southwest will also have to avoid certain mountain trails, when deer and elk season begins. Nature loving hikers are replaced by camouflaged figures with high powered rifles. I will never comprehend the relevance of hunting for sport, locally or globally.

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    1. Me either, Laura. Hunting if it is necessary for sustenance - and even then like I mentioned most (not all) of the traditional societies that we have met use only very little - but sport? Go running instead or kayaking or something.

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  7. I love your picture of the mother duck. She looks exactly like the ducks who nest in our duck houses on our pond; and thus keep their ducklings safe from predators.
    I pray no one shoots any of them!
    All 17 of our most recent hatches came back to say hello the other day!

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    1. That must have been so wonderful to see, Penny!! And oh how I hope they stay safe. There is a duck family that lives in a canal not far from our house and all last year through hunting season I went to check on them...it looks like they wised up and haven't returned this fall!!!

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  8. Thank you Heather and Remi for bringing this to our attention. The thoughtless actions of humans surprise me every day, and I will certainly pass this on. Such a tragic loss. xx

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    1. Thank you Tracy for passing this along...And I agree with you about thoughtless actions in many different forms...kindness is king and so essential...

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  9. I admire Remi and his vision: "We should think of the world in terms of creating and keeping Harmony."

    Thank you Heather.

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    1. It certainly makes sense to me, Edgar. We don't need all that we have and our planet is suffering.

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  11. Hello Heather. Thank you for posting this. Preserving our planet and the life on it should be something that we are all talking about, so I think it is quite an appropriate topic for this blog or any other blog.

    I followed some of what Remi posted on Instagram and these words, especially, resonated with me. "Mankind has definitely become the hyper-predator of planet Earth, who now possess the power to destroy anything we want while changing the global climate as well. "

    Living in harmony with nature is so much better than fighting it. On a much smaller scale, we met with a Real Estate agent this week to talk about what we'd need to do to get our house in shape for a sale. Ever since that meeting I've been muttering the words "sterile and soulless" in response to her comments about my admittedly out of control, but naturalized garden. No I don't do mulch and everything isn't in perfect order and there are some "weeds" in there, which others would consider native wildflowers but of course, she'd like to see more "landscaping" with lots of mulch. The waste of it all, the "staging," really annoys me. Sorry to digress, but this tendency for everything we touch to be perfect, the perfect lawn, spraying for garden pests, etc., etc., are all part of the same mind-set that destroys our natural surroundings.

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    1. And I also want to mention that your bird photos in this post are gorgeous and lush. I recently spoke with a painter who uses a lot of bird imagery in her work. One piece is entitled, "l'oiseau dans tout leurs etats." Birds take on such a variety of shapes when they are on the ground and then in the air and, of course there is the double meaning of her title which also can mean that one is very upset. A fitting description of the way many of us feel about the reckless abuse of the planet and wildlife.

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    2. Wow, this is such an amazing response Judith, thank you. My very first thought was: "you need to find another real estate agent!" because "sterile and soulless" is just plain rude. And I agree with you about the waste in staging to sell your house - especially as I have seen enough photos of its interior to know how charming and welcoming it is. You will find the right buyer who will appreciate that, I am sure of it. And you know how I feel about the quest for "perfection"! Grrr...our society has gone down the rabbit-hole on that one and is missing out on so much that is beautiful "as is."

      Thank you for the compliment about the photos too, I love the word "lush" - and the story about the painter is fascinating!

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  12. A sadness grew over me as I read Remi's words. Although it is an optimistic thought unfortunately those who need to read this never will. Or they will turn their heads in disagreement. That being said I DO believe in a collective consciousness and I think that just by so many reading Remi's words it can take on a life of it's own and become positive for those of us who want to be the change. I also believe from the outcry about the old lions death there is a revolution and so we will all unite for this to be a better, more thoughtful planet.

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    1. I hope so, Kerry, I hope that you are right...and not that people will be angry for a bit and then forget about it. It is why Remi worked so hard (over 60 hours) on instagram and why I wanted to publish his words here despite knowing that I would lose readers (I have).

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  13. Heather, Thank you for your important post. Exquisite images and Remi's words are a call to arms, to take up weapons of words aimed at the gun-happy hunting tourists, to make them stop and think. Perhaps if, in losing his life, Cecil has drawn attention to the outrage caused by the casual killing of magnificent beasts, he may have started a new mindset of awareness.
    Cheers,
    Deborah, Melbourne.

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    1. You and Kerry seem to be thinking along the same lines here and that, in and of itself, gives me hope Deborah! Gros Bisous and thank you for always being here...

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  14. I was trolling back deleting deleting when I came upon your email here with a RED FLAG!I had RED FLAGGED TO READ later and NEVER HAD!I think I did see on INSTAGRAM aboutREMI and his powerful message........so here I AM to say, leave the animals BE.Hunting for sport is definitely NOT Needed...................and if people did not have guns THAT MAN would still be alive today in your village!Thats another topic I doNOT GET...........GUNS!
    WHAT A BEAUTIFUL POST to a BIG BEAUTIFUL LION!!!!!

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  15. In the unending crunch and travelling that have comprised by last month, I did not get to this most important post until just now, Heather. Thank you so much for composing and posting it and for directing us to Rémi's IG site (which I will shortly visit). Like just about everyone I have encountered, including many African hands, I was crushed by Cecil's death. Having spent a month in East Africa in late 1970, I simply cannot imagine anyone choosing to kill a lion (or any of the magnificent creatures in the wild...and they all are magnificent) unless required to do so by hunger, protection of self or another human being or tribal custom (which I understand is now changing). In fact, I feel about hunting for sport, period. It is nothing short of barbaric, I am ashamed that our or any culture allows it, and I will continue to do all I can to stop it. A huge bravo to you and Rémi for your eloquent, beautiful and brave activism!

    I am glad you are being cautious in walking Ben and Kipling during hunting season. Here, during bow hunting season and then firearm hunting season, we cannot hike anywhere hunting is allowed...Henry's golden-orange color makes him to easy a target for hunters' mistakes. Even in our neighborhood or the nearby Forest Park, I have worried that someone will mistake him for a coyote and fire a gun at him. (Fortunately, there don't seem to be any neighbors who own a gun or are inclined to use one in either area, which would be illegal.)

    I hope hunting season in your area is over by the time you read this. Again, thank you for speaking out, and so beautifully, against the hunting of animals for sport, Leslie in Oregon

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    1. Remi and I were both deeply saddened to learn that no charges whatsoever will be put against the dentist that killed Cecil. I am speechless is disbelief.

      And yes, we are being careful and sticking to open areas close to the village. Ben is petrified by the sound of gunshot, even distant ones, so he is often my alarm. And hunting season has only just begun here. It is very sad indeed...

      Please keep Henry and Bob (and yourself!) safe.
      With a warm hug,
      H

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