Questions for the Dead.

Last night the dead were closer to us living humans, or so many believe. In the old Pagan traditions November 1st was marked as Samhain, the Day of the Dead, which brought the American tradition of Halloween. Wearing scary customs and watching gore movies only came as a result of the old religions. Just like the Christmas tree and the Yule Log, Easter Eggs and many more.

Last night I had to think of the dead I knew, or know. Some are nicer to remember than others. Some are best left dead.

My fondest memories are of my grandmother, who was clever as an old sage and mischievous as a little child. I wished so much that she would sit with me, let me ask her questions I never got to ask, personal questions, private ones, maybe about the lover she left back in the village, when was it, 1939? 1940? He wasn’t there when she returned and found no one. All were murdered. I want her to tell me. The mother and sisters who refused to leave and were murdered in the forest, was she mad with them for being so stubborn? Would she be mad with me now that I live in Germany? That I have a German man? A German Shepard…? That would make her smile, which would be nice. How was it to run to Israel, to live in Jaffa, to climb 4 floors each day till she was in her 90’s? What happened when she escaped to Russia, starving, how did it feel like to starve? What did she have to do to find food, to get food?

But most of all, as with the dead I knew, or the living that I meet, I’d like to talk to them about what’s closest to my heart – non-human animal rights.

My grandmother loved dogs and cats, those she would encounter in her everyday life were lucky to have met her. She’d always sneak little pieces of chicken to my little dackel, who would sit next to her during meals, knowing it’s the best seat in the house. My grandmother also kept a live carp in the bath until she killed it for supper. I don’t think she loved him. Once the carp escaped while my mother was little and home alone, the miserable animal jumped across the small Jaffa apartment until someone hit him or her on the head. If my grandmother would sit with me now, I’d ask her if she, like Isaac Bashevis Singer, also thinks that: “In relation to [animals], all people are Nazis; for the animals, it is an eternal Treblinka”?

Her daughter and my vegan mother already told me that the best thing would really be to have day trips to slaughterhouses and dairy/eggs farms, “Like daily trips for fruit picking”, she wrote me. And why not have people go and pick up their own meat, eggs and milk products? Hear the cow as she cries for her baby, taken from her right after birth; see the chickens in their crammed caged, beakless, with their tiny legs and heavy bodies, collapsing from exhaustion, heat, starvation. They have no strength to hold their own weight, for they are raised to be bigger than ever was natural (whatever that is), or weak from exerting so many eggs, which takes all their calcium from their bones and power from their bodies and hearts. I wonder how many people would be able to “pick” eggs or get milk from mutated utters, milk that belongs to baby cows. Those who would be able to might be murderers and thieves, but at least they are honest.

War changes you; I bet I would eat puppies or human babies if I had to. Most of us would. The rest would die. The rest might just lie about it. But we are not at war; we are not in a constant state of survival. We are indulging on bodies of others, weaker than we are, just for the fun of it. Just as if I would kick someone, break someone’s scull in cause it’s fun or cause I believe maybe it’s good for my muscles or for the heart.

I have a strong feeling that my grandmother would not have disappointed me, if she was alive now, or if the dead are closer and we could have a talk. I think she would agree that the biggest Holocaust of all times is still happening, only this time there are no “bad people”, no Nazis to fight, there are only us, humans, contributing to the cruelest, sickest industry ever, an industry that should have long been dead.

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