Free online viewing! http://www.tribeofheart.org/screeningroom
Last Sunday I was invited by a group of animal loving people to watch the documentary The Witness ~ one man’s emotional journey to becoming an animal activist, particularly around the despicable fur industry. It was comforting to view this moving documentary with others who cared – the circulating tissues were indeed reassuring.
Before presenting the background to The Witness, I would like to share some thoughts that were raised on Sunday.
One task of an activist is to make others conscious about the ethics of an issue. Surely, though, being aware is not enough? It is one’s conscience that ultimately drives us to try and change an injustice.
According to Wikipedia:
- Consciousness is the state of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined as: sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind.
- Conscience is defined as an aptitude, faculty, intuition or judgment that assists in distinguishing right from wrong. Moral judgment may derive from values or norms. In psychological terms conscience is often described as leading to feelings of remorse when a human commits actions that go against his/her moral values and to feelings of rectitude or integrity when actions conform to such values.
The topic of vivisection came up and we wondered how people could torture animals in the name of science. It struck me that the word conscience is con – science i.e. against science. Those who commit atrocities in the name of science are rewarded for having no conscience. They lack compassion and justify their actions by stating that animals are not sentient beings. In this way these scientists can disconnect from the pain they inflict onto animals in the name of (hu)mankind. (Hu)man kind??
Now, back to Eddie Lama, the man who became conscious and then acted on his conscience.
Eddie was a construction contractor, from tough Brooklyn, who transformed into an animal advocate. Eddie is probably the last person one would expect to be an animal activist, as he was raised with an ingrained aversion to animals. ‘Eddie avoided animals for most of his life, until the love of a kitten opened his heart, inspiring him to rescue abandoned animals and bring his message of compassion to the streets of New York’. With humor and sincerity, in the award-winning documentary, THE WITNESS (43 minutes), Eddie tells the story of his remarkable shift in consciousness (http://www.tribeofheart.org/sr/sr_witscreeningroom_english.htm).
This documentary exposes the horror of factory farming, trapping and farming wild animals for their fur.
It is truly inspirational and well worth watching!