It's 3:49 am, and I've barely slept in the past three days. I destroyed my car in a highway accident. I am arguing with supposed allies of the animals, about whether it's wrong for tortured bodies to be eaten. My mom is suffering from a horrendous disease that will eventually take her life.
And yet I am filled with hope. Because I can see the path forward.
Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, perhaps the most prominent writer in the country on issues of social justice, asks the country today:
Some day, will our descendants be mystified by how good and decent people in the early 21st century — that’s us — could have been so oblivious to the unethical treatment of animals?
We have four activists visiting us, from the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain, with the remarkable group Animal Equality. They gave a rousing presentation about the power of open rescues and other creative disruption to jolt public debate on animals. Their work has been featured repeatedly on the largest media channels in Spain, Holland, and the UK. Sharon and Jose, two of our guests, continue this incredible work, in the face of criminal charges that could send them to prison for 9 years.
Then I hear from my friend Sasha, who is working with 269life to upend human supremacy in Israel, about an international action that he is helping to organize, in solidarity with groups around the world. Sasha was one of ten animal rights activists in Israel arrested for pushing an honest, uncompromising campaign for animal liberation. His response to the repression? He calls it silly, and nothing at all compared to his greatest fear -- the fear of not doing enough for our brethren struggling and dying under the weight of human supremacy.
And then I look around me here in the Bay Area. I am surrounded by activists whom I love so much that my heart swells, and skips a beat, when I think of their dedication and passion and goodness. My friends Priya and Sarah were falsely charged with criminal battery of a peace officer at a recent disruption, and yet they push forward for the animals, without pause, and without a seeming second thought about the serious allegations against them.
Since I first saw images from the animal holocaust, I have been haunted in my sleep by a terrible nightmare. In the nightmare, there is a child, who has been taken from her mother. The child is in a dark prison, utterly alone. She cries, but no one listens. She claws, but the walls have no weakness. She wails and finally falls to the ground, but there is no one to pick her up, or tell her that things will be ok.
This nightmare has wreaked havoc on my conscience for 15 years. When I think of it, I cannot breathe, and I feel a pit forming in my insides, a deep pit that sucks away all the joy and goodness and light in my life.
But the nightmare is coming to an end. I can see it so clearly. The tide is rising, all over the world -- even in my home country of China. And the tide will sweep away this nightmare and give me -- will give us -- a new dream to live by. The dream of a world where the child from my nightmares is reunited with her tearful mother, where the bad men put down their blades and their chains, and where my human sisters and brothers finally realize the calamity of animal holocaust.
Our movement is changing. There is a new spirit of resolve and of courage and, yes, of radicalism. And as our movement changes, so too will the world.
Until Every Animal is Free.