23 April, 2024


A Brusselsian Lesson On Animal Cruelty

By Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

The word in the local streets is ‘heat’, and it comes with ‘blackouts’, ‘unannounced power cuts’, ‘sabotage-claims’ and ‘incompetence’. The word in the global streets is actually a proper noun: ‘Brussels’.

A few days ago, more than 30 people were killed and dozens injured in attacks at the Brussels international airport and a city metro station. Maybe it is because such attacks are a rarity in Europe (compared to other parts of the word), we don’t know, but the Western press can’t seem to get enough of that story. ‘Brussels’ has hogged the world’s headlines and that must, at some level, say something about the world’s heads.

It is not unnatural for present-blood to hoof out other bloods of other times, but people do have memories and it’s not only about the fact of blood but its volume as well. The following note, titled ‘Sympathizing [with] Brussels and the colour divide’ that I received a few minutes ago via email, gives perspective:

‘The brutal IS bombing in Brussels deserves all the condemnation heaped on it, as well as the outpouring of sympathy for the victims. The point I wish to make is that the immensity of all this ha-ho is because it happened in a ‘white’ country and got [and yet gets] immense publicity from the Western Media – both print and electronic.

‘Ironically, hundreds of non-white Third Worlders are being killed daily in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Iraq by bombers from the US, UK, Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. It is laughable to see the publicity awarded to the pilots of the “free world” who rain bombs on countries that do not have a single anti-aircraft gun. These victims are relegated to the small type of back pages.

‘What shames me [is] the unseemly haste with which Third World leaders, including our own, rush to express their sympathy for the deaths of thirty odd ‘whites’. Not a tear have they shed for the fate of hundreds of non-white civilians mercilessly bombed by the “brave”(and totally safe) pilots of the “Free World”.’

Well, that’s the truth. People with a long view of history in addition to a wide-angle lens could of course talk of the Belgian monarch Leopold II, who carved out a territory more than 70 times larger than his own country and went on to kill 10-15 million people. That story of Belgium and the Congo Free State from the end of the 19th Century might sound out of place and a pernicious justification of the attack on Brussels a few days ago, but it is a pertinent interjection here simply due to the issue of selectivity: when we are taught about genocide, there’s scarcely any mention of Leopold.brussels attack

The issue is simple. If not for the kind of selectivity referred to above, the attack-story is robbed of its tear-drawing worth. That’s politics and considering the fact of the political that marks the attack, footnoting or ignoring outright relevant histories is a political choice and has to be politically appraised. Put simply, ‘terrorism is terrorism, regardless of the identities of the terrorist or the victim’.

There’s bombing going on in Syria and South-Eastern Yemen, but we are told the guys getting hit are terrorists. No mention of civilians. By the way, more people died in Yemen than died in Brussels on that same tragic day. That’s the political economy of coverage. You can apply the logic to Sri Lanka’s struggle with terrorism too of course and there will be for-and-against arguments from all quarters. At the bottom of it is a simple word: selectivity.

Let’s move from the ‘political’ arena for a moment. Let’s consider animal welfare. Let’s talk of people who are livid about cruelty to animals.

A couple of weeks ago, there were cries of horror about some individuals who had captured, skinned and killed a hawk. We are also seeing objections to the use of elephants for pageants. The objectors have a point. A strong point. Few will stand up and say ‘It’s ok, they are after all animals’ (implying ‘lesser creatures’). Few, again, will say the victims of the Brussels attacks ‘deserved it’ or ‘it’s ok because others too have been killed’.

The problem here is the selectivity concerning the creatures in question. Can someone who eats fish and/or meat have the moral right to object to ‘the suffering inflicted on elephants in captivity’ or ‘a captured eagle’? Is the defense, ‘there’s legally sanctioned killing of certain animals, so our activism is framed by law’ really valid? If it’s the cruelty that inspires horror, there cannot be justification of certain kinds of violence based on method or degree of pain inflicted. The pig or the cow or the chicken or the goat that gets killed was not consulted about the eventuality, just as the hawk and the elephant were not.

Are dog shows cruelty-free? Do we assess this in terms of how many tails wagged and how much over a given period of time? How about horse and dog racing? ‘Kind treatment of animals,’ should we say? Isn’t captivity in any form (in a cage, in chains or on leash) cruel? Would it all be fine and would we be fine with it if we called them ‘pets’?

Isn’t it in the end about preferences, the outcomes we can live with or which suit us? Brussels is not ok, but Yemen is: elephants are no-no creatures, but horses, dogs, cattle, chicken, goats, pigs, fish, squid, prawns and crabs are yes-yes for capture, leashing, boiling, frying, currying, stewing and ‘devilling’ as the case may be.

Shouldn’t we all stand up now and pat ourselves on our backs and roar ‘Three hearty cheers for hypocrisy’? Well, that’s it folks. It’s not about horrible crimes against humanity and it is not about being aghast at animal-cruelty. It’s just us, being us, being hypocrites.

Let’s just say that the word in the local (and global) streets is just that: hypocrisy.

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Latest comments

  • 7

    Isis is the only organization which hit back at Europe for its terrorism in Africa and Middle East,
    Amount of African slaves could have been stopped, if the blacks living in Europe at that time revolted.
    Or genocide in India by the British could have been prevented, of the Pukka saib Indians could have
    Stopped buying British goods,
    Just to think of it, why Isis is being branded all bad is because they fight back- simple.
    All people who didn’t fight are in reservations or dead. Ask the aborigines of Australia or
    The Eskimos of Canada or the Apache tripes of USA.
    Selective reporting and hiarachy of reporting people:

    Whites- European

    • 10

      We must not be that worried being away from Europe and not having the least contact with those ISIS … what we really need to be worried to learning it from a rajapakshian lession… never ever vote for a man of that quality who looted and left ruined lanken assets alone SRILANKEN with over 107 billion losses.
      This man WORKED for the Rajapkashe from day one even if he is said to be graduated from Harward. His fine writing allowed Rajapakshes to consolidate their power and fool gulliable folks further falling them into even deeper.

      • 0

        How can this ever happened Malli ?

        So long the very same stupid folks- that are vulnerable to high corruptions, high abuses such as Rapes murder are there, do you ever think there would be any change in this country ? Pigs might fly….

        See now the very same folks turn their minds to accuse the current regime of all the varied alllegations being made to MR regime – not knowing the gravity of the scandels left by MR et al. It was even worst than the wreckage left by Monster waves created Tsunami in December 2004. There, at least funds and donations flew in- to go for blunt rebuilding. Today, with none of the mittels being at disposal but on huge loans further being taken are the only source to iron out all the mess deliberately made by Rajakashes.

        The tasks before the current regime is similar to a case that rapists enjoyed their activies but aftermath was forced to settle by the hotel owners but not approval with the neigbourhoood, since hotel was so known to be worst. And the people are in general memory losers, would do anything and everything see it right for the moment only… theyare not better thinkers… they turn their minds as the hungry animals would do.

    • 6

      What a complete ignoramus you are Jehan. If IS were in Sri Lanka you would be one of their first victims.

    • 1

      “Amount of African slaves could have been stopped, if the blacks living in Europe at that time revolted.”

      Africans were slaves to the Moors for 800 years. Their ships were rowed by the blacks of Africa.Moors travelled to Kerala throughout that period.
      Have you heard of Portuguese kaffirs of Ceylon (mixed of African, moor and Portuguese)The Portuguese were not allowed to mix in marriage as per catholic law and security.
      Its the Muslims who showed the way to slavery and trade with Asia. Japan was advanced and reclusive country.
      On Easter day Muslims at Lahore Pakistan kill church goers.
      sorry you guys are an obsolete crusade.
      We need Donald to clear the mess of the establishment not Muslim preachers.

      • 0

        All true and correct, but, you “conveniently” missed out mentioning that MANY MUSLIMS also died in that Lahore attack. Talking about Crusades, pls dont forget Christian crusades as well, the Spanish inquisition, KKK et al. It takes two to tango friend.

    • 0

      Just wait Nanaa

      Don’t be so proud about hitting innocent people as the glory of your stone age religion

      There are many US bases in Middle East …can your islamic jokers able to go near …these places.?

      Soon they will send same butchers to Sri Lanka and when they start game your thoppies will her reward

      Pathetically no one care about SL Muslims because all are concerted Tamil Hindus…


  • 2

    And right at the moment, entire europe is on a chase to north african criminals.

    wE DONT have them in our country. so we must not make gonibillas out of nothing.

  • 17

    My dear Mr Malinda Seneviratne

    This splendid article proves that you are not only eminently qualified to write about ‘Hypocrisy’ – you are hypocrisy itself. Your toplapping talents were on display almost everyday for several years prior to January 2015 when you were writing odes to Mahinda (mis) Rule.

    • 7

      Well said Navin – you hit that nail squarely on its head!

      Who would be more qualified to describe hypocrisy that one of the Masters at the Game?

    • 6


      You were never neutral or independent. You are what you are due to patronage of MARA.

      I can see you tilting towards MS and your school mate RW.


    • 2

      Writer has no neutral genes. So he cant help there he will continue supporting abusive bunch of lanken politics. This has nothing to do with the insitution that offeredhim his degree. That has rather lot to do with his own genetics.

  • 15

    “A few days ago, more than 30 people were killed and dozens injured in attacks at the Brussels international airport and a city metro station. Maybe it is because such attacks are a rarity in Europe” – Malinda Seneviratne

    This Sir is called “WHITE WESTERN HYPOCRISY” as you called a spade a spade. On a day this tragedy occurred in Brussels – Belgium, hundreds died and thousands made homeless far away from Europe from Turkey, from Saharan North Africa to Yemen to Waziristan to Pakistan. Several hundred refugees perished at sea trying to escape the NATO, Russian(with Syrian Forces) bombardment, including those escaping ISIS terror in Syria. None made the headline in the western mainstream media. If one would read the Salon.com under the caption “The obscene moral hypocrisy on Brussels: Why are terror attacks against civilians in the Middle East ignored?” is self evident of the hypocrisy that Malinda is talking about. We live in a beautiful world with DISGUSTING politics don’t we? I propose to Noam Chomsky at a join conference in Cambridge many years ago that all this madness is attributed to our own hypocrisy towards our fellow human beings where “A white Mans blood is precious; a Zionist’s words even though meaningless is valued as being priceless; Any other persons sweat let alone blood is worthless”. I never expected any applause or accolades from a shocked audience that was per-dominantly White but my words resonated as the indisputable truth that only intellectuals would understand and dare to applaud.

  • 9

    ¬Brussels, immense publicity from the Western Media – both print and electronic.¬ Linda,

    Larger country lesser population than Lanka a former prosperous BENLUX nation, the first industrialised European nation- the land of chocolate from the Congo.
    The issue at Brussels crops from neighbour France off loading their French speaking immigrants from North Africa (the former crusaders of the Iberian peninsula)and this was the main issue that made them not have a functioning government for 2 years. People of EU are happy that it is getting its due coverage and France being exposed the same way that UK/US were exposed with the Madrid bombing.
    Brussels is a new phenomena with free EU travel while Madrid is thousand year story.
    What is this hypocrisy?/ To start with all diplomats are.
    When you start manufacturing engineering tools you will understand hypocrisy but never by the written word.
    All men lie just like us.

  • 9

    Brilliant article! Wasted on a readership not intelligent and sophisticated enough to appreciate the subtle irony! Cheers

    • 6

      @anotherbuddhist: As “intelligent and sophisticated” as you claim to be, are you “intelligent” enough to “appreciate the subtle irony” expressed by one of the masters at the game?

      • 0

        Maxim, you prove my point. Cheers/ reach out for the Jonny Walker!

      • 0

        Maxim, you prove my point. Cheers/ reach out for the Johnnie Walker!

  • 2

    Against the backdrop of the genocide of Leopold 11, the Holy Roman Emperor of Belgium, what would be the sentiments of the present day Congolese about the killings in Brussels? Would not they think also about Katanga and Patrice Lumumba?

  • 3

    The cycle of farming and population increase is the biggest threat to animals.
    Not everyone is intelligent enough to realise this and see only superficial cruelty and unscientific ideas about what is life.
    The earth also has a life, ‘animals’ are not the only living beings and to cut down an enchanting forest is more than animal cruelty.

  • 0

    [Edited out]

  • 3

    Malinda are you advocating Veganism!?

    Seems to me after this write up you would have to be either a vegan or a hypocrite!


  • 1

    Even after Paris and Brussels massacres the people of these lands never raised their fingers at Qu ran readers or touch their women this show the civilized minds of Europenas.

    Suppose tomorrow skin heads roam the French and Belgium cities and smash the heads of Qu ran readers even their Allah can’t save them.

    European countries accepted these Qu ran readers ..fed them ..educated them ..and gave jobs to them also guaranteed security ..look what are these Qu ran readers doing ? Islam is a religion of Peace my foot .

    Europe is a land of law ….Muslims are people of uncivilized Islam this is the difference.

    There is no place for Islam in modern world.


    • 1

      “Europe is a land of law”

      The whole world must be a land of law

      Law is by the people for the people not by the god for the people

      people can look after their matters

  • 0

    What role are the media playing against Islam?

    The role the media are playing is called selective media.

    Selective media is to help grow a particular idea and concept over another. This can be done in many ways. Two ways of doing so is either by degrading a particular notion or person and the other by promoting a particular concept. Outweighing opposition political stances.

    This in today’s world is a tool the eastern and western media are using to brainwash the masses against Islam itself. Constant lies and a lot of the time total exaggeration to undermine and degrade the concepts of Islamic beliefs and it’s law and order.

    The purpose of this is to stop the growth of Islam and it’s ummah. Although it has corrupted ideas of weak muslim minds however it’s bias blatant lies have attracted non Muslims to look further into the matter and in many cases people have embraced Islam.

    The media of today are the mouthpieces of the tawagheet and they portray matters to further their political stances and also to inbred hate and dislike towards the Muslims which would be easier to explain why the crusader and apostates of the earth are carrying out an onslaught against Islam and the Muslims, and this would lead to the approval of the masses in carrying out crimes against the Muslims.

    Abu Mutassim

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