Saturday, December 22, 2012

Random Law School Update 43

Last Locations:
Barcelona, Spain: August 26 – December 19, 2012
Geneva, Switzerland: December 19 – December 20, 2012
Chamonix & Les Houches, France: December 20 – December 22, 2012

Present Location: Washington, DC
Arrival Date: December 22, 2012
Departure Date: Undetermined

Next Location: Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Arrival Date: January 6, 2012*
Departure Date: January 13, 2012*

I just arrived back in DC. There haven’t been sufficient spare seconds to write since I returned from my trip to Madrid and Granada ten days ago. Since then, I have taken my last law school exam ever and have skied the Alps. Some of these stories will have to be reserved for pictures and for conversations that we will have days or months from now when I see you in person and we catch up over good food and inspiration. For now, I want to comment on the International Animal Rights Day footage that I sent out in my last update.

If you watch the clip you can see that I was holding a small dead chick. There are 399 other activists around me, each holding the body of an individual whose experience with humanity lead to its premature death. Some, like mine, had been suffocated under the weight of hundreds of other baby chickens, discarded at the beginning of their lives for being born male; others had been abandoned, experimented upon, fished and tossed aside, died while awaiting death by anal electrocution before being skinned for their fur, or fed so much that their organs rupture—as is the case with foie gras. 

I didn’t think I was going to cry. I learned how to emotionally detach myself from depictions of animal suffering years ago when it became clear that allowing myself to give in to the full force of empathy that accompanied such profound suffering crippled me emotionally and rendered me incapable of being an effective advocate.

And this action didn’t even depict suffering. Only the quietly collected and respectfully cleaned remnants thereof. And death itself has never bothered me much.

But it was neither death nor the evidence of cruelty that caused my eyes to precipitate.

The first time I cried, it was for the advocates. Not for the small lifeless creature in my hands whose placement there represented the suffering of countless others just like him. But for the fact that my standing there along with 400 people like me represented the power to change the fate of countless more.

The second time I cried, it was for the people watching. The demonstration caught the eye of a small well-dressed elderly man and he approached us, as if out of an instinct to save the animals we were holding. Upon realizing the futility, his face broke into the saddest expression and he reached out to gently stroke the head of the dog that an activist in the first row was holding. He smiled with a melancholy sympathy as his eyes, like mine, began to glisten with moisture. And it occurred to me that our actions as advocates benefit not only the animals who we represent, but also the people whose lives are enhanced by coming to know what it means to feel compassion for others.

You can learn more about International Animal Rights Day and Igualdad Animal here:



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Random Travel Update 42

Last Locations:
Madrid, Spain: December 7 – December 10, 2012
Granada, Spain: December 10 – December 11, 2012
Málaga, Spain: December 11, 2012

Present Location: Barcelona, Spain
Arrival Date: August 26, 2012
Departure Date: December 19, 2012

Next Location: Washington, DC
Arrival Date: December 19, 2012
Departure Date: Undetermined

I wrote this late last night on the plane ride home from one of the most profound weekends of my life. My head and heart were still buzzing. Both from the experiences, and from eating a few too many Triskys and Choco-Palomitas—corn-snacks which I had discovered in the bus station in Málaga. Triskys and Choco-Palomitas are vegan, gluten free, and delicious, but not in the least bit healthy.

My weekend started with a 400-person demonstration in the streets of Madrid for International Animal Rights Day:

And ended with a trip to see Alhambra in Granada:

And the moments in between were even better.

Spain has officially captured my heart.

Photos and a description of International Animal Rights Day to come.