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Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc.
38 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York 12572 USA -  845-876-2626
Vegetarian - Vegan - Animal Rights - Health - Nutrition - Environment

The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.

Newsletters

Spring 2003 Special Edition: Recipes for Peace

We ate no flesh in Eden, but afterwards,
When things got hard, we forgot
- from On Speaking Terms with Earth by Jean Pearson

Our government’s killing behemoth has been activated. In the name of war and liberation, Americans are being instructed to put aside everything they deeply feel and have learned since childhood. Killing is no longer wrong (when it’s against "the enemy" — the "other"); nor is being unkind to our neighbors. Loyalty to one’s country (or at another time, one’s job, racial group, species) trumps kindness and peace.

We learn that we must sensitize ourselves to the bombs that mutilate and tear every living or inanimate object in their wake. The media often help by showing beautiful fireworks, not torn bodies on the field — avoiding the twisted mangle of bodies, the dead flesh baring their reality of similarity: goat, donkey, dog, barely indistinguishable from humankind. The media parrot officialdom’s press releases that justify the carnage using "weasel words" like "collateral damage" or PR puff like "shock and awe." Our beautiful teenagers are taught to kill; then, when at home, to forget — to desensitize. And in the foxholes they eat their ham (from a brutalized pig).

We vegetarians and vegans know that perhaps ever since Eden humans have been at war. In those early years before recorded history the combat was for survival — leaving Eden, we hunted whatever we could for food. Today we have made a business of killing, and similarly, we learn to desensitize ourselves against the horrors we commit behind other hidden killing fields: the slaughterhouses and laboratories.

Marjorie Spiegel, in her book The Dreaded Comparison shows how we also once treated slaves as we treat animals today, justifying our behavior with the false notion that people of color are the "other," and not quite like us, just as we justify our treatment of animals.

In Nazi Germany, Hitler stole power, and insisted that “He who does not possess power loses the right to life.” In the powerful book, Eternal Treblinka, author Charles Patterson borrows his title from a story, “The Letter Writer,” by the great Yiddish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer. In Singer’s book, a man who lost his entire family in the Holocaust befriends a mouse whom he feeds. After the mouse dies, the man eulogizes the mouse with the words "In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.” Treblinka, in Poland, was one of the most notorious concentration camps.

Here is a short excerpt from Patterson’s book  http://www.powerfulbook.com  The excerpt is part of the true story of Edgar Kupfer-Koberwitz, a prisoner in the Dachau concentration camp from 1940 to 1945. During Kupfer-Koberwitz’s last years in the camp he had a job that allowed him to scribble secretly on stolen scraps of paper, which he buried and then collected after the Americans liberated Dachau. He later organized the scraps and published them in his book, "Dachau Diaries." From what he was able to put down on scraps, he wrote an essay called "Animal Brothers" (translated from the German).

Patterson wrote, "Kupfer-Koberwitz begins his essay by telling his friend that he doesn’t eat meat because he made ‘a firm, deep promise’ to himself 20 years earlier, the reason for which he says he can give him in one brief sentence: ‘I eat no animals because I don’t want to live on the suffering and death of other creatures… I have suffered so much myself that I can feel other creatures’ suffering by virtue of my own…. why should I injure or kill other creatures or have them injured or killed for my sake?"

‘On the basis of the fact that these creatures are weaker and smaller than oneself, ‘could any sensitive and noble-minded person derive from that a right to abuse their weakness and smallness? Should not, in truth, the greater, the stronger, the more powerful always protect the weaker creatures, instead of killing and persecuting them?’ Patterson writes that Kupfer-Koberwitz explains that his decision has made him think and feel in a new way. ‘You don’t know in what a changed way I can face all creatures since twenty years ago, how freely I can look into the eyes of deer and dove, how much I feel myself brother to all creatures, loving brother to the snail, the worm and the horse, to the fish and the bird. Yes … even to the worm,’" Kupfer-Koberwitz said.

Further Patterson quotes Kupfer-Koberwitz, who described removing a worm to a safer place. "‘What does that little inconvenience matter—bending down and soiling the tips of my fingers? What does it matter, compared with the blissful feeling of having entered the circle of Nature, the circle of fellow-creatures, with love—not as an instigator of terror and destruction. No, to bring Peace— as the older brother.’"

Because many of our brethren abroad, and at home, are being asked to kill, are being killed, or are asked to become desensitzed to killing in the name of Liberation, we devote this issue of Vegetarian Viewpoints to Recipes for Peace — in a vegan lifestyle.

- Constance Young

Editor

 

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