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Us and Them

Tiger nuturing piglets in a zoo in Thailand
Tiger nuturing piglets in a zoo in Thailand

‘Us and Them’ is written in response to this article about piglets being raised by a tiger. I recognise there are many layers of other issues involved in the linked article that I’m not addressing.  (Previously published in Dark Matter issue #7.)

Many of the world’s problems are due to an ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality, whether it’s ‘us’ and ‘them’ concerning race, religion or disability. Look at what can happen when different species learn to live side by side and even nurture each other. I wonder how many fewer terrorists there would be if, instead of invasion forces, the West put more of a focus on providing food, shelter, hospitals and schools while respecting others. In the UK they’re currently looking at legislation to remove support for disabled people, but how many of the politicians and spin doctors who are taking these actions will be personally affected? I suggest none. Also it would be unlikely that those pushing this legislation have close family or friends who will be detrimentally impacted. The spin they’re using is dehumanising language that puts the disabled in this ‘other’ group that is somehow less than human, whose pain and suffering is neither heard nor felt. Tigers and pigs.

Bareback by Kit Whitfield is a powerful novel that used a society of werewolves subjugating non-werewolf ‘disabled’ children as a vehicle to discuss issues of disability. Bareback is a very important book written by a woman author; my concern is that it may be overlooked or forgotten because it was fantasy written by a woman discussing disability: three strikes and you’re out. I would love to host a discussion about this book. Let me know if you’d like to join this discussion after reading Bareback.

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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