rn:Vandana Shiva-Terrorism as cannibalism/Human Liberation Imperative


Jan Slakov

From: "Janet M Eaton" <•••@••.•••>
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2002 14:31:30 -0400
Subject: Vandana Shiva / Terrorism As Cannibalism / Jan 23 ZNet 

As to be expected another profound reflection on the roots of  
global crisis by Dr. Vandana Shiva who concludes: 
"Peace will not be created through weapons and wars, bombs and 
barbarism. Violence will not be contained by spreading it. Violence 
has become a luxury the human species cannot afford if we are to 
survive. Non-violence has become a survival imperative."

fyi- janet 

Today's commentary:
ZNet Commentary
Terrorism As Cannibalism January 23, 2002
By Vandana Shiva

Year 2001 will be etched in our memory as a year in which the vicious cycle
of violence was unleashed worldwide. Of the Taliban bombing the two thousand
year old images of peace, the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

Of terrorists blowing up the W.T.C. on September 11, and attempting to blow
up the Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir on October 1, and the Indian Parliament
on December 13. Of a global alliance bombing out what remained of
Afghanistan after two decades of super power rivalry, and civil war. Of
Pakistan and India threatening to go to war as 2001 gave way to 2002.

Why is violence engulfing us so rapidly, so totally? Why has violence become
the dominant feature of the human species across cultures. Could the
violence characterising human societies in the new millenium be linked with
violent structures and institutions we have created to reduce society to
markets and humans to consumers?

Animals of any species tend to become violent when they are treated with
violent methods.

Pigs love to root in the fields, wallow in the mud, grunt to each other.
However when denied this freedom in factory farms where they are confined in
over crowded, steel barred crates or multiple stacked cages known as battery
cages, pigs become bored, stressed and anxious. They start knawing cages,
picking on each other, biting each other's tails and ears and resorting to
what agribusiness industry has called "cannibalism". (Ref. Michael Fox, Old
MacDonalds Factory Farm)

Pigs are not cannibals. When they start to display cannibalism, the normal
question industry should be asking is why are pigs behaving abnormally. The
organic movement and animal liberation movement has raised the question and
found the answer in the violent methods of factory farming. In humane
farming pigs have been liberated and allowed to roam and roll in the mud.
Stopping violence against animals is the best way to stop their violent

Industry has a different solution to "cannibalism" induced by the
concentration camp conditions of factory farms. Operators of pig factories
chop off the tails of week old piglets without any anaesthics to prevent
other pigs from chewing them off. They also remove eight teeth with wire
cutters. Male piglets have their testicles cut off to reduce their
aggression in crowded areas.

While removing tails and teeth is the solution offered to violent behavior
in pigs, chicken in factory farms are debeaked, and cattle are dehorned.

Beaks are the most important feature of chicken. When roaming in the open, a
chicken needs its beak for eating, pecking, preening, cleaning, grooming.
When confined in battery cages, chicken start to attack each other with
their beaks. According to industry, chicken are debeaked to protect them
from one another. A day old chick's beak is pressed against a red hot metal
blade at 800oC. Often it injures the tongue.

Chicken injured during debeaking die of starvation. What industry is blind
to is that it is not chickens beak that is the cause of violent, abnormal
and cannibalistic behavior among chicken, but the overcrowded, unnatural
conditions of their living in cages. Free-range chicken do not kill each
other with their beaks. They find worms and food for their own nourishment.

The horns of the cow are its most distinctive feature. We adorn them with
bells and decorations. At Muttu Pongal, the horns of cattle are decorated
with flowers and balloons. In organic agriculture cow horns are used to
increase the potency of compost. But in factory farming, cattle are dehorned
because they attack each other under conditions of confinement.

The problem, clearly, is the factory cage -- not the teeth and tails of
pigs, the beaks of chicken, the horns of cattle. It is the cage that needs
removing, not the tail, or beak or horn. When animals are denied their basic
freedoms to function as a species, when they are held captive and confined,
they turn to "cannibalism".

Humans are animals. As a species we too have basic needs -- for meaning and
identity, for community and security, for food and water, for freedom.          

Could terrorism be the human equivalent of the abnormal behavior of
"cannibalism" in animals exhibit under factory conditions?

Humans are of course, not being confined to iron cages (though in the U.S,
in Australia, a large percentage of blacks and aborigines are behind bars).
Human society is being caged and controlled through complex laws and
policies, through violent economic and political structures which are
enclosing of their spaces -- spiritual, ecological, political and economic.

Humans are experiencing their religious spaces enclosed when militaries
occupy sacred lands as in the Mid East. Humans are experiencing enclosure
through occupation as in Palestine. The children in affluent America are
also experiencing a closing of their lives, and are turning to mindless
violence as in the case of shooting at St. Columbines. And across the world,
ecological, economic and political spaces are being enclosed through
privatisation, liberalisation and globalisation.

These multiple processes are breeding new insecurities, new anxieties, new
stresses. Cultural security, economic security, ecological security,
political security are all being rapidly eroded.

Could the violence being unleashed by humans against humans be similar to
the violence pigs, chicken and cattle express when denied their freedom to
roll in the mud, peck for worms, and roam outside the confines of animal

Could the coercive imposition of a consumer culture worldwide, with its
concomitant destruction of values, cultural diversity, livelihoods, and the
environment be the invisible cages against which people are rebelling, some
violently, most non-violently.

Could the "war against terrorism" be equivalent to the detoothing,
debeaking, dehorning of pigs chickens and cattle by agribusiness industry
because they are turning violent when kept under violent conditions? Could
the lasting solution to violence induced by the violence of captivity and
enslavement for humans be the same as that for other animals -- giving them
back their space for spiritual freedom, ecological freedom, for
psychological freedom and for economic freedom.

The cages that humans are feeling tapped in are the new enclosures which are
robbing communities of their cultural spaces and identities, and their
ecological and economic spaces for survival. Globalisation is the overaching
name for this enclosure.

Greed and appropriation of other people's share of the plane's precious
resources are at the root of conflicts, and the root of terrorism. When
President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that the goal of the
global war on terrorism is for the defense of he American and European "way
of life", they are declaring a war against the planet-its oil, its water,
its biodiversity.

A way of life for the 20 percent of the earth's people who use 80 percent of
the planet's resources will dispossess 80 percent of its people of their jus
share of resources and eventually destroy the planet. We cannot survive as a
species if greed is privileged and protected and he economics of the greedy
set the rules for how we live and die.

If the past enclosures have already precipitated so much violence, what will
be the human costs of new enclosures being carved out for privatisation of
living resources and water resources, the very basis of our species
survival. Intellectual property laws and water privatisation are new
invisible cages trapping humanity.

IPR laws are denying farmers the basic freedom of saving and exchanging
seed. They are, in effect, enclosing the genetic commons, creating new
scarcities in a biologically rich world, transforming fundamental freedoms
into criminal acts punishable with fines and jail sentences.

Water privatisation policies are enclosing the water commons, transforming
water into a commodity to be bought and sold for profit, creating water
scarcity in a water abundant world.

Percy Schmeiser, a Canadian farmer had been using his own seeds for the past
fifty years. His Canola seed was genetically polluted with Monsanto's GM
Canola through wind and pollination. Instead of Percy being paid
compensation in accordance with the polluter pay principle, the courts fined
Percy on the basis of Monsanto's IPR case which argued that since the genes
were Monsanto's property their being found in Percy's field made him a thief
irrespective of how they came to be there.

The violator becomes the violated, the violated becomes the violator in the
perverse world of patents on genes, seeds and living material. Such perverse
laws are transforming agriculture into police states and farmers into
criminals. They are the invisible cages which are holding humans captive to
market processes and corporate rule.

The Privatisation of water is another threat to human freedom.

Perhaps the most famous tale of corporate greed over water is the story of
Cochabamba, Bolivia. In this semi-desert region, water is scarce and
precious. In 1999, the World bank recommended privatization of Cochabamba's
municipal water supply company (SEMAPA) through a concession to
International Water, a subsidiary of Bechtel. On October 1999, the Drinking
Water and Sanitation Law was passed, ending government subsidies and
allowing privatization.

In a city where the minimum wage is less than $100 a month, water bills
reached $20 a month, nearly the cost of feeding a family of five for two
weeks. In January 2000, a citizens' alliance called La Coodination de efensa
del Agua y de la Vida (The Coalition in Defence of Water and Life) was formed.

The alliance shut down the city for four days through mass mobilization.
Within a month, millions of Bolivians marched to Cochabamba, held a general
strike, and stopped all transportation. At the gathering, the protesters
issued the Cochabamba Declaration, calling for the protection of universal
water rights.

The government promised to reverse the price hike but never did. In February
2000, La Coordinadora organized a peaceful march demanding the repeal of the
Drinking Water and Sanitation Law, the annulment of ordinances allowing
privatization, the termination of the water contract, and the participation
of citizens in drafting a water resource law.

The citizen's demands, which drove a stake through the heart of corporate
interests, were violently rejected. Coordinadora's fundamental critique was
directed at the negation of water as a community property. Protesters used
slogans like `Water is God's Gift and Not A Merchandise' and `Water is Life'.

In April 2000, the government tried to silence the water protests through
market law. Activists were arrested, protesters killed, and the media
censored. Finally on April 10, 2000, the people won. Aguas del Tunari and
Bechtel left Bolivia and the government was forced to revoke its hated water
privatization legislation.

The water company Servicio Municipal del Agua Potable Alcantarillado
(SEMAPA) and its debts were handed over to the workers and the people. In
the summer of 2000, La Coordinadora organized public hearings to establish
democratic planning and management. The people have taken on the challenge
to establish a water democracy, but the water dictators are trying their
best to subvert the process. Bechtel is suing Bolivia, and the Bolivian
government is harassing and threatening activists of La Coordinadora.

By reclaiming water from corporations and the market, the citizens of
Bolivia have illustrated that privatization is not inevitable and that
corporate takeover o vital resources can be prevented by people's democratic

The resource hunger of a corporate driven consumer culture is attempting to
enslave own and control every plant, every seed, every drop of water.

The suicides of farmers are one aspect of violence engendered by a violent
world order based on markets, profits, consumerism. Suicide bombers are
another aspect. One is directed towards the `self'. The other is directed
towards the `other'. And in a fragmenting and disintegrating world, where
everyone feels caged, everyone has potential to become the dangerous
'other'. Like animals in factory cages, we are attacking ourselves or each

Animals have the animal liberation movement to speak for them and set them
free when the industry which has held them captive under violent conditions
perpetrates further violence to deal with the cannibalism that captivity is

What is needed is an animal liberation movement for humans -- a movement
sensitive to the captivity of consumer culture and global markets, a
movement compassionate enough to sense the deep violations humanity is
experiencing, a movement that recognises that it is not the teeth of pigs,
beaks of birds, horns of cows that need to be removed, but the cages.

The multicoloured, diversity based movement against the structural violence
of global markets and the consumer culture has elements that could grow to
liberate the human spirit from the degradations and deprivations of
corporate globalisation. Reclaiming our freedoms and spaces from the new
enclosures is as essential to us as it is to other animals.

Animals were not designed to live imprisoned in cages. Humans were not
designed to live imprisoned in markets, or live wasted and disposable if
they cannot be consumers in the global market.

Our deepening dehumanisation is at the roots of growing violence. Reclaiming
our humanity in inclusive, compassionate way is the first step to peace.

Peace will not be created through weapons and wars, bombs and barbarism.
Violence will not be contained by spreading it. Violence has become a luxury
the human species cannot afford if we are to survive. Non-violence has
become a survival imperative.