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Nov 25, 2009

From my beautiful, sensitive friend, Minoo......


The expression of gratitude by the strong and able
is through lending a hand to the meek and unable.
- Excerpt from an old Persian poem


I have to be honest...Thanksgiving has always been one of my least favorite holidays of the year.  I wish it weren't so. I usually can't wait for it to be over before it's even begun. With the exception of greeting card commercials and the obligate feel-good message carried in holiday-time movies and TV specials, so much of what I see representing this potentially-beautiful holiday is about gluttony, focusing primarily on the turkey.

Starting in November and continuing through the end of December, popular culture in the US starts throwing around words and phrases like giving, thanks, love, peace on earth, and good will to all. Absolutely wonderful ideals I think we should ALL strive to live up to, and I LOVE that the holidays remind us of those universal ideals.

But every year, I feel such a deep sense of mourning and disappointment when I see that those words mean so little to so many of my fellow humans... empty sounds that are uttered without much meaning, and in most cases, with little - if any - action supporting the meaning.

Regardless of the origins of Thanksgiving, or what the religious, historical, or political implications may or may not have been, one thing is clear....we now primarily see it as a time to sit down and stuff ourselves in the company of friends and family, "feasting" at the expense of another being's loss of his or her life. If this being were in the furry body of a cat or dog then most people in the US would object. But those same people will often not think twice when the "feast" on their table happens to be derived from an animal who, by birth, fell into the unfortunate and arbitrary category of a "farm animal".

Whether the poor bird suffered unimaginable cruelty in a factory farm, or whether she lived in the farce that is known as "free-range", or even in the very unlikely scenario where she was raised by someone in their own backyard, she still faced an early and absolutely unnecessary death. And anyone who has spent any time with non-humans of various forms, will not doubt that she felt fear, agony, and horror right before she was killed... she and the 46 million other turkeys killed for this one day of thanks each year.

I guess ever since I was a little girl, and even now that I'm in my 40's, I've never been able to comprehend emotionally WHY people choose to celebrate a day of gratitude by killing an innocent being and feasting on him/her... and moreover, why they continue marking other holiday feasts of the season, like their Christmas dinner, with similar choices. Where is the gratitude, good will, joy, or peace in that? How is that consistent with the values we teach this time of year? Why do we voluntarily choose killing over life - especially so in a holy season with such beautiful non-violent ideals?

There are many peaceful alternatives for having a scrumptious feast to share with friends and family, and even further, to share with fellow humans in need. And if you don't like the alternatives, you can certainly create your own. Alternatives that are NOT derived from suffering or death. Alternatives that allow us to teach our children that LIFE IS SACRED to every being. That BREATH IS SACRED to every being. And based on that, to teach them, that first and foremost, we must give thanks for those sacred gifts of Life and Breath.

Traditions change all the time. Any student of history, anthropology, or sociology can probably point out dozens of known traditions that have evolved or simply changed form, meaning, and practice in the relatively short history of humankind. Now in this 21st century, I do hope that one by one, more humans will come to abandon the practice of unnecessarily killing another being for the "pleasure" of their stomachs, and that they will redefine the traditions of this holiday season. Only then will Thanksgiving, and the festivities that follow through the end of the year, begin to honestly reflect the peaceful, loving ideals we all strive for during the holiday season.

Please choose peace over violence. Please choose kindness over killing. A happy and peaceful Thanksgiving to you and yours, with respect and gratitude to ALL life forms,

- minoo


P.S. A simple search on the internet will result in pages of information on the absolutely wonderful tasty alternatives for a peaceful and fulfilling meal!!
Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Wednesday November 25, 2009, 12:19 am
Tags: thanksgiving veganthaksgivingvegan thanksgivingtrue [add/edit tags]

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Susie V Kaufman
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