Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Maybe Cecil Just Isn’t Your Lion – Omote Ekwotafia


Taken at African Lion Safari, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Photo courtesy of Sage via Creative Commons License.

Regardless of the worthwhile social issue at hand, there seems to be someone against it. A lot of times, the reason for dissonance is that Issue “A” just doesn’t seem as important as Issue “B.” I saw a prime example of this during the Cecil the Lion Controversy. A lion, part of a declining population, loses his life to become a dentist’s trophy and the world erupts in outrage. Some are upset because they see Cecil as a dear lion—yes, he’s a predator, but only in the wild and he was lured to his death—while others are upset that some are so upset. Specifically, the latter find it outrageous that people are so focused on the death of an animal, but not nearly as upset about other issues, like world hunger or killings in Syria. I wonder if it’s possible to be upset about all these issues at the same time?

While there is a real problem with news media playing favorites, whispering things they should shout from rooftops and screaming incessantly about more trivial matters, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about people who are genuinely angry with friends or strangers who don’t share the exact same level of passion for the things they value most. What if that difference is a good thing?

lion-sized-wrongs_pullquoteConsidering all the lion-sized wrongs in the world, it would be a waste if the sum of our desires for a better humanity was only focused on one wrong. Maybe Cecil just isn’t your lion. I find it reassuring that— in our quest to end poverty— most of my VISTA teammates are focused on projects almost entirely different than myself. Instead of despising those who hold a different view, we should embrace those views as another piece of the puzzling path we hope will lead us to some version of utopia. Certainly, an idealistic thought process, but not a naive one. Engaging in nonprofit work is challenging enough on its own. We are all fighting for some kind of equality or goodwill, in a slightly different way. You don’t have to understand everything, but that lack of understanding doesn’t justify disparaging it. Let’s all fight zealously for what we find most important; hopefully we will all win and be better off because someone cared about something we thought silly.



This entry was posted on January 22, 2016 by in VISTA Field Reports and tagged , , , , , , .



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