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Was Cecil the Lion Worth all the Attention?

Posted on: Friday, August 7th, 2015

Or was the dentist who killed him? Some have said that in this action that caught international headlines, was an enactment of the arrogance of some nations in plundering other nations. Some have said that the outcry heard around the globe is representative of a collective NO against this ongoing oppression. Cecil represents the majestic, sovereign and beautiful natural resource of nations and Walter Palmer represents those who steal it without regard.

Others have suggested that Walter is a psychopath and have inferred that trophy hunters, who pay large sums of money to hunt and kill, sometimes endangered animals, are not ‘normal’. They say that the canned hunts – where the animals are driven into certain confined spaces to make the shooting and killing easy, dates back to ancient kings and is a way to demonstrate wealth and power.

And yet some have argued that this uproar is unwarranted, that Zimbabwe, and the world at large, have bigger problems. Hundreds, indeed thousands, die everyday from preventable causes and why should we be crying about a lion that even the locals did not know had a name. A strong argument is made here, but diverts from the intent in most people’s minds when they protest. There was something wrong done and the injustice must be addressed, regardless of the presence of other injustices.

I believe the biggest effort from the protesting masses is directed towards the blatant arrogance with which something precious was wiped out. It would seem that there is a growing intolerance for irresponsibility when it comes to stewardship of the earth’s resources. While many did not know Cecil three weeks ago, many know what plundering carelessly does. The solidarity with Cecil is therefore a fight for greater care and responsibility for what matters to the many that is sometimes abused by the few.

As a Calgary psychologist, I encounter this protest daily. Many folk are standing up against hostile forces – forces inherent in what it takes to keep up. Forces that threaten their quality of life. Cecil represents the inner life, unique dreams and personal hopes of the many. I am inspired by the individuals who are saying NO to losing their dreams at the hands of stress or keeping up with the Jones’s. When the promise of wealth, power, success, prestige or any other ‘trophy’ threatens to snuff out life, love, relationships and health, people rise up and find the courage to demand justice – the preserving of what is most valuable.

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