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Mar 4, 2013

This share is not important and the only reason that I do not delete it is that some people have left comments. I edited my other 2 shares on March 3, 2013 but they are not immediately visible when one clicks on my profile. Maybe that changes after I add this.

I will take the opportunity to elaborate some points that were raised due to a comment I made on "
Care2 Causes" regarding hamburgers. I am putting it here since it would be off topic and is way too long.

NOTE: these are just some comments about myself. My "share" regarding PETITIONS to SAVE KANGAROOS is much more important than this and please do not let this redirect you away from the petitions.

Regarding Bill Gates - I am aware that he is involved with introducing GMOs into Africa. I condemn that and have taken online action. The reason I listed him as a role model is that 50 billion US Dollars made from software causes a much smaller ecological footprint than if it came from killing animals, logging forests, drilling oil, mining coal or any industry with a lower value-added content. 

I bought a Mac (Performa 5200) and laser printer in 1995 but never used it since my desk is cluttered with unread newspapers and other junk, and I kept putting off setting it up. I was making some gains on the Croatian stockmarket and was planning to buy a bigger apartment (flat). Before there was an animal rights organization in Croatia, I was active in Green Action. They use Macs. In 2000, a "friend" from Green Action asked if he could have my Mac and I gave it to him. Animal Friends Croatia was formed in 2001. They use Microsoft Windows-based PCs. They told me that I cannot function without a computer and that I should get a laptop (which I can use at my dining table). That "friend" from Green Action was coordinating the campaign against GMOs for Croatia. I hope my Mac helped! European countries are largely opposed to GMOs. My opposition is not local but I hoped that pressure from Europe would lead American farmers to stop sowing GMOs and protect their environment.

Oh no(!), most of the Microsoft Office in Croatia are illegal copies! I wonder if Bill Gates knows that, since there are reports that he occasionally likes to come here with his yacht! There is a legal copy of Windows 7 on my new HP Probook 6555b but the demo version of Microsoft Office expired after 60 days. (Maybe I should have got a laptop with Linux).

When I oppose coal-fired power stations, I do not oppose them just because combustion pollutes the environment locally, but I am also concerned about the country where the coal is mined. In 1998, there was a newspaper article about importing coal from Malaysia (from under rainforests, I guess). I wrote a long letter to a Croatian daily newspaper but the part against Malaysia got cut off! I have written later letters against tropical timber and they did include Malaysia. In 1999, there were attempts by the United States of America to impose GMOs and coal-fired power plants upon Croatia and USAID cut off its funding for Green Action.

Although I advocate veganism, not all vegans are necessarily better than non-vegans (regarding other issues). Most activists in Croatia are students, unemployed or low-income earners. My desire to help them achieve their goals financially somewhat backfired as I often felt that they did not regard me as one of them. Sometimes they would totally disregard my ideas for campaigns (especially those at Green Action) but then I would discover some of them working on that very campaign a few years later (such as the ratification of CITES by Croatia). The reason that I focus on the Campaign to stop the killing of kangaroos is that I started it when interpersonal relations amongst activists were at an all time high and after 2 great years on the Croatian stockmarket, so I funded it all myself. Some of the organizations in Australia were impressed when I sent them my campaign materials and they listed me as their representative in Croatia. They were not offended by me using the Aboriginal flag, but VIVA-UK did ask why I did not just use their campaign materials. Although I have collected information and photographs to produce an identical-looking campaign against hunting in Croatia, Animal Friends Croatia were not interested, so I have just been writing some of my own letters against hunting and commercial fishing to relevant Croatian and European ministers and going to protests organized by other activists. Although Aboriginals are not a vegan culture, in 2008, 8 Aboriginal protesters were jailed for protesting a kangaroo kill in Canberra. I have also come across articles by both Aboriginals and Native Americans advocating veganism.

In 2003, after 2 terrible years on the stockmarket, my Mother, who is living in Australia, demanded that I buy a new apartment so that she can visit me. The activists at Animal Friends Croatia were delighted to see me humiliated like that. No more investing, no more big donations! My rented apartment is cluttered and almost impossible to clean and I sleep on the couch since there is no separate bedroom. (I used to be a perfectionist and it would take me 2 months to clean everything; I last did that in 1999, when I sold my first apartment). I offered to rent a second apartment for my Mother, but both the activists and my Mother told me that "Everyone will think you are crazy if you do that". I did not want to risk losing another 10% or so on the stockmarket so I just gave in to my Mother. It took me over a year to find an apartment that I liked (I am against low-density housing due to urban sprawl). I did not like the brand new ones, so I bought a 25 year old one. It ended up needing some renovating. I hoped to pay someone to do that, and I did. However, nothing turned out quite as expected. In Europe, new houses and apartments do not come with fitted kitchens and built-in robes. Attractive kitchens can be found at showrooms, but they rarely fit properly; and the outlet for the range-hood (cooker-top), and the water, gas and electricity are all in the wrong place. So, I did a lot of the work myself, by trial and error. That has been going on since 2004, and I am still not finished. I have been paying both rent where I am staying and a home-loan for my "new" apartment. I am gradually starting to move in smaller items (that I can carry on public transport). My Mother has been delaying her visit ever since, one year at a time. She insists on coming over the Christmas period even though she knows I hate those family gatherings. Since I missed out on the opportunity to make a 400% gain on the Croatian stockmarket (from 2004 to 2007) "thanks" to my Mother, I demand that she respect the fact that I live in a meat-free household, or there will be problems! If she cannot go without meat, she has plenty of redneck relatives all over Croatia where she can stay. (By "redneck", I mean conservative people with a traditional house and family). I do not know what I would have done if my Mother did not give me time to complete my apartment but just said something along the lines of "I do not care what stage you are at, I am arriving at Zagreb Airport at 7 am next Wednesday". (This negative attitude of mine towards food started with this ordeal with my Mother and apartment. I also had a negative attitude in Australia, but in those days somebody else did the cooking and cleaning).

A "letter to the editor" of a printed Croatian newspaper, once or twice a year, can have a much bigger impact than all these endless comments on Care2 (or under Croatian online news articles). Unfortunately, Care2 has turned into an end in itself, and I once ended up not going to a protest because I spent the whole previous night on Care2. (And I often get nothing done in my "new" apartment or the housework in my rented one).

My employment as Operator at the Preflight briefing office of Air Traffic Control was arranged by my Uncle. My annual salary (about 24,000 Dollars nett/after tax; the Australian Dollar is almost equal the US Dollar at present) is about 80% above the Croatian average and in the top 5%. Finding another job is not an attractive option. However, the radar air traffic controllers earn 2.2 times my salary. My deadline for a promotion expired in 1996, and at that time I had conflicts at work. (I put the mobbing to an end by leaving the newspaper open at the finance section and would offer colleagues vegan chocolate wafers and let them know that I made a 100% gain in a month on the stock of the company that manufactures them!) My job is not labor-intensive, so I take newspapers and my laptop to work and do ecological, animal rights and human-related activism and also watch about 12 hours of TV daily, since there are a lot of good programs on Croatian Television and even the American movies are "based on a true story" and I find them useful. In the "good times" when I invested in the stockmarket, that went well with activism since both require that I follow the media (newspapers, TV, internet) a lot and I have become really addicted. In 2001, I made 6 times the average Croatian income (about 20,000 Dollars salary and 40,000 Dollars on the stockmarket). I used to love it when I was at an animal rights protest or handing out leaflets and someone would say "Get a job!" ("If only" I could return to Australia in 1989 and "work my guts off" at McDonalds or Kentucky Fried Chicken for 4 Dollars per hour! But I did not get that job!)

When I was living with my Uncle in 1992, he kept chickens in a small wire cage. One of his sons screamed as they slaughtered "his" pet chickens. The adults were all rubbing it in his face and saying "let's kill another one". I was not a vegetarian at the time but I did make it clear that I was intending to do so as soon as I start living on my own. In those days, I was not aware of the reasons against milk. I once overheard a Bosnian refugee saying that his children will not let him slaughter the chickens. (In 1980, my parents took "our" chickens to a family friend for slaughter whilst my sisters and I were in Church preparing for our Confirmation).

I am not against war if it is for self-defense of a country and I did serve 9 months in the Croatian Army in 1993-4 and was mobilized for 6 months again in 1995. I decided to eat meat in that first period in the Army "to be like everybody else" but that did not stop the people from calling me names for all kinds of other reasons and many would say "Go back to Australia". That just made me even more determined to stay. I did not end up going to war. My commander did not like it when I said that I was actually hoping to get killed because I went from being a top student at school in Australia to being one of the bottom ones at university and was thinking of suicide. The other physics students at the University of Melbourne would not let me borrow lecture notes if I would come late due to a train delay. On the other hand, I made Croatian friends without really trying. (In those days I was still considering moving to the USA due to the space program. Voyager2 left the orbit of Neptune in August 1989). I became really interested in Croatia when I discovered that apartments were much cheaper than in Melbourne. The newspapers that my Father used to read were just anti-communist texts written by emigrants and there was no useful information on returning to Croatia (then still part of Yugoslavia) in them. (I often wish that the Serbian Chetniks had slaughtered my ancestors in World War 2 and that I never existed, or that the plane had crashed when we emigrated to Australia).

I am somewhat torn between advocating apartment living and returning to my origins. Even though I have considered it, advocating that humans return to Africa to live with the chimpanzees cannot be applied to 6.9 billion humans. Sometimes I would eat only figs all day but only recently took a closer look at a wildlife documentary and saw that wild African figs are not the same as these Mediterranean figs! The fig season is very short and fresh figs can rarely be bought at fruit shops because they ferment easily. I am against bananas since they come from Ecuador - and possibly destroy rainforest. It is not possible to live chimpanzee-style in winter in Croatia, so I have to accept food produced by humans and live indoors. I would like to return to my ancestral land (inland Dalmatia/Southern Croatia) but my relatives living there would never reply to my letters, and if I were to quit my job at air traffic control, I would have to put up with people calling me crazy. It is a stone house (only the walls remain) and it reminds me of a magazine ad for a "fine olde Scotch Whisky" but it is not in Scotland! In Dalmatia they use hydro-electricity whereas in Zagreb we use fossil fuels (methane and/or heating oil) and there is a nuclear plant on the border with Slovenia.

I actually wish that my salary was not above average, because then I could just find any old job near my ancestral home. It is about 6 hours away by bus, so travelling there every second day is not an option. (On average, I work 12 hours every second day and have every second day off, but sometimes have 3 days off in a row. I have just under 6 weeks annual holidays). People that had there house destroyed by war are entitled to have it rebuilt by the Government but they have to prove that they were living there on 16 September 1991 (whereas I was firmly stuck in Australia running a carpet steam cleaning business, making a loss. The ad in the Yellow Pages cost almost as much as my first apartment! My Mother demanded that I give up a well paying door-to-door 84 hours, 1,000 Dollars per week, Market research interviewing job in 1990 and renovate her house, but when she saw how long I was taking for just 1 window frame, she demanded that I quit. So, out of spite, I started a business. That ordeal delayed my return to Croatia for 2 years).

The idea of returning to Croatia to reduce my impact on indigenous people, native animals, forests and the environment is my own thinking. Most other emigrants that have returned do it for family or nationalistic reasons. I am disappointed that only about 1% of emigrants have returned and there are 2.5 million people of Croatian origin living in the USA, 250 thousand in Australia, 250 thousand in Canada, about 8 thousand in South Africa, and hundreds of thousands in many European and South American countries. There are very few individuals in Asia. I have nieces and nephews in Australia and they love McDonalds!

Since I live in an apartment by myself, my ecological impact or "footprint" is still high (because it is divided by only 1 person in the household). According to some online quizzes on the WWF website, it is between 2.3 and 3.4 planets (if all humans lived as I do).

At the time of writing, I am trying to watch "Fruits of the land" ("Plodovi zemlje") on Croatian Television. It is intended for farmers. That is followed by "Sea" ("More") which is about fishing, boating, marine ecology and the sea in general.

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Posted: Monday March 4, 2013, 2:01 am
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Al S. (0)
Wednesday February 16, 2011, 2:45 pm
Thanks for the star. Don't ever think of suicide again.It hurts others in addition to yourself. And you are too valuable to people like me, and your friends on Care 2. You are a rare, sensitive human being, a spotlight in a rapidly dimming World.

Simon Validzic (248)
Thursday February 17, 2011, 9:00 pm
To Al Stein. I was not sure whether to reply here or send you a personal message, so I will reply here. Thank you for "signing" the 1st petition on my profile. Please consider "signing" the 2nd one.

I apologize if reading this share was a waste of time - I have thought about deleting it. The reason that I wrote about personal problems (such as finances and renovating) is just in case somebody from Care2 asks me to donate towards another cause or work on another campaign. I am able to "sign" petitions but am not in the position to lead or fund any more campaigns.

The reason that I thought that it might to be of interest to mention suicide or wishing that I never existed is that sometimes, on forums regarding the environment or animal rights, people make comments such as:
- "If you think that there are too many people, you can kill yourself";
- "If your ancestors did not hunt or eat meat or use treatments that were tested on animals, you would not be here";
- "If it were not for animal farming, all those animals would not even have existed; and it is better to get killed for meat than to have never existed".
I am simply presenting the case that "having never existed" is not such a bad thing. I also wish to dispel the stereotype that vegans are unpleasant. If I am unpleasant then it is due to this cycle of (academic or financial) success followed by failure, or other reasons totally unrelated to veganism.

Sandra Z. (12)
Tuesday September 18, 2012, 12:39 am
Simon, I was born in Zagreb but my parents came here to the US when I was 7. I had a Croatian ex boyfriend who left me and returned to Croatia, he lives in Zagreb too and is vegan. I often wish my parents had never moved us here, but it is too late for me to move back since I have all my friends and family here, my beloved 3 kitties, my job, etc. A very close friend of my family's, Mario Bebek, lives in Zg too and his girlfriend Dajana works at the airport, I believe in customs. Maybe you know her because you work in a related job, maybe at the airport too. I don't know her last name, but she is a beautiful brunette, so if you see one there named Dajana ask her if she knows Sandra in LA and that would be me! I agree with the gentleman who said for you to never ever think of suicide again!!! Believe me I think of it often too, this world is very harsh and cruel to sensitive people, which most animal lovers are, but I would never do it because that would be one less vegetarian on the planet, when we need more and more!! Also of course my family and friends would be devastated. But the world definitely needs more of us, not less, so please don't even think of abandoning us!! Keep up the good work for the animals and the environment. I am very encouraged by how much progress has been made in the decades since I first became aware of those issues, and I think it will continue to get better and better as people like us make more and more people aware. Keep up the good work and give my love to my native town. My parents were both from Dalmatia too, my mother from Omis, my father from Hvar, which is where I spend all my time when I go back. My closest cousin, Mirjam Zaninovic, lives in Zg too. I always think of Zg as such a small town and that everyone who lives there must know each other so I'm mentioning some of the people I know there. Unfortunately none of them are vegetarians, but they are all good people. Keep up the good work and keep your chin up!!!

Simon Validzic (248)
Thursday September 20, 2012, 10:46 pm
Dear Sandra Zaninovic,

thank you for your message. I almost missed it because I receive so many messages on Care2, Facebook and e-mails in general.

I do not know the people that work at customs by name although I probably come across them them when I go to buy the daily newspapers or when I travel on the bus to work. I do not have time to Google the people that you mentioned or look them up in the online phone directory. Let me know if you had that in mind.

I was born in the Drnis hospital but lived in Ruzic at the time of birth. I am disappointed that my nephew had a baby with an "Australian" and will not be returning to Croatia. (I am not sure if he is married). and will not be returning to Croatia. I am dreading the possibility that my mother might decide to live with me in her old age. I think that I should have the right to refuse medical treatment and food in the event of illness or old age or if I have just had enough. Most ot the progress regarding animal rights and the environment in Croatia would have probably happened sooner or later even without me.

Thank you for "signing" the 2nd petition against the killing of kangaroos that is on my profile. I can only see the 10 most recent "signatures" on the 1st petition and cannot see if you have "signed" that one.

I also spell my name "Sime Validzic".

Simon Validzic (248)
Monday March 4, 2013, 6:06 pm
This share is not important and the only reason that I do not delete it is that some people have left comments. I edited my other 2 shares on March 3, 2013 but they are not immediately visible when one clicks on my profile. Maybe that changes after I add this.


Simon Validzic
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Novi Zagreb, City Of Zagreb, Croatia
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