Isaac Bashevis Singer
Writer, Nobel laureate (1904-1991)
In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human
beings see oppression vividly when they're the victims. Otherwise they
victimize blindly and without a thought.
When a human being kills an animal for food, he is
neglecting his own hunger for justice. Man prays for mercy, but is
unwilling to extend it to others. Why then should man expect mercy from
God? It is unfair to expect something that you are not willing to give.
As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures,
there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter
and justice cannot dwell together.
If there would come a voice from God saying, 'I'm against
vegetarianism!' I would say, 'Well, I am for it!' This is how strongly I
feel in this regard.
To be a vegetarian is to disagree -- to disagree with
the course of things today. Starvation, world hunger, cruelty, waste,
wars -- we must make a statement against these things. Vegetarianism is
my statement. And I think it's a strong one.
The same questions are bothering me today as they
did fifty years ago. Why is one born? Why does one suffer? In my case,
the suffering of animals also makes me very sad. I’m a vegetarian, you
know. When I see how little attention people pay to animals, and how
easily they make peace with man being allowed to do with animals
whatever he wants because he keeps a knife or a gun, it gives me a
feeling of misery and sometimes anger with the Almighty. I say ‘Do you
need your glory to be connected with so much suffering of creatures
without glory, just innocent creatures who would like to pass a few
years in peace?’ I feel that animals are as bewildered as we are except
that they have no words for it. I would say that all life is asking:
‘What am I doing here?’
Newsweek interview (October 16, 1978) after winning the Nobel Prize in
Even in the worm that crawls in the earth there glows a divine
spark. When you slaughter a creature, you slaughter God.
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