December 9, 2012

Pets, But Not People

I remember learning how the Nazi's in the Holocaust and WWII would take great care of their dogs, while at the same time exterminating Jews, Gypsies, gays, the disabled, as well as political opponents and prisoners of war. 

While I fully respect people who are pet owners and love their pets, it is odd how even today the love of animals and their treatment can be elevated above how we treat each other.Some recent articles about our pets that stood out:

- An article in the Wall Street Journal (2 December 2012) compares helicopter parents to now helicopter pet owners. One example given, from a pet-rescue site states: "All dogs must be constantly supervised in their yards for their safety...animals such as bats, bees, and snakes can gain access to yards" and threaten your dog. Another example provided was about a couple who wante dto adopt a dog, but had to complete an 50 question application. 

- Two days later, another article in the Wall Street Journal (4 December 2012) about people memorializing their pets by turning their ashes into diamonds. "Producing a one-carat diamond requires less than a cup of ashes or unpacked hair." And "some gems start at about $250, while pet diamonds cost about $1,400." No really!

In contrast, here were some recent articles about how we memorialize those who were gruesomely murdered and tortured by Nazis (may their name be obliterated):

- The Wall Street Journal (1 December 2012) presented an article on how "every year since 1963, the Space Medicine Association (SMA) has [disgracefully] given out the Hubertus Strughold Award to a top scientist or clinician for outstanding work in space medicine" even though, "Dr. Strughold, a former scientist for the Third Reich, was listed as one of 13 'persons, firms, or organizations implicated' in some notorious Dachau concentration camp experiments." In particular, Dr. Strughold was implicated in the "infamous hypothermia, or 'cold experiments,' in which inmates were used, and typically died as subjects [brutally] exposed to freezing conditions" such as immersion in freezing water or in vacuum chambers that simulated altitudes of nearly 20,000 feet. Yes, the concentration camp prisoners exposed to these experiments at Dr. Strughold's own instuitute, included "children 11 to 13 old [who] were taken from a nearby psychiatric facility" and subjected to oxygen deprivation experiments," yet the SMA continues to use Dr. Strughold name as worthy of an annual award--yes, beyond belief and sick indeed. 

- Bloomberg BusinessWeek (6 December 2012) describes how in India, a clothing store in Ahmedabad is named Hitler with a swastika used as the dot over the "i" in Hitler, and Mein Kampf is a bestseller. Similarly, in 2006 a cafe opened in Mumbai called Hitler's cross and a pool hall named Hitler's Den opened in Nagpur. Last year, a comedy was released called Hero Hitler in Love and there is a hit soap opera called Hitler Didi (or "Big Sister Hitler"). While the article states the "Hitler's popularity in India is not a result of anti-Semitism" but rather that Hitler weakened the British in WWII, thereby freeing their country. Nevertheless, the hero treatment for Hitler stands out in stark contrast to his life as a notorious murder of millions.

So while many admirably love their pets and seek to treat them kindly and with care, there are those who still love for the likes of Hitler, the Nazis and the murder, cruelty, and chaos they inflicted on the world. 

What is commentary on and future of a world, when people love and respect their pets more than their fellow human beings? 

As the English Statesman, Edmund Burke, said, "The only thing needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Glenda Wiburn)


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