Well, this is certainly not a face I’d like to run into unexpectedly! I find tigers to be such stunning creatures.
I drew this one on 10/14/17… I didn’t sign it but should have.
I first drew a tiger in the art class I began in elementary school, which met after school once a week for 3 hours. I think I will have to write a separate post about that art class. Anyway, that first tiger painting was a pen and ink drawing and colored in with watercolors. I was eight or nine years old at the time. My art teacher, Mrs. S., gave me a sheet of gray colored paper (instead of white) because then I could add white watercolor paint to the fur; I used white and an orangish color. This was one of my first paintings; it is in my parents’ house somewhere, I think.
In college, I spent a semester in London, and one day I wandered into a bookstore and bought a book called “Tales of the Punjab”. The cover of the book depicts a boy holding a tiger’s paw (I cannot remember the corresponding story). I was intrigued by the cover, which led to the purchase of the book. My actual book is somewhere in the basement, and I can’t access it right now, so I found a picture of the cover online:
When I visited India a few years ago, I saw tigers roaming freely at a special wildlife park; we were on a bus and driving through the park and were quite close to the tigers. Here is a photo I took:
On that same trip to India, I was reading the newspaper one morning and read a tragic story of a man (a father or a grandfather) who had been mauled and killed by a tiger. It was such a sad and tragic story, it hardly seemed true. The man had simply ventured out onto the same land he usually worked, whether he owned it or was working for someone else. He was killed by a tiger and it was either discovered or witnessed by family members– I can’t remember exactly which scenario transpired. I mentioned that news story to some people in India that day, and I was taken aback by the nonchalant response and attitude to the news: it was not uncommon and there were reports every year, I was told.
I’m writing the rest of this post a day later, and thinking about the definition of the word “fierce”. The entry from dictionary.com states the following:
“Fierce” can mean savage and violent, in a negative way, or it can be intense and eager in a positive way.
I saw some pictures and read some news stories today which made me cry. The cruelty and evil? Absolutely fierce. One was a story by national geographic; it was a photo of a 15-year-old Rohingya girl who survived a massacre in Burma. She watched soldiers beat her 10-year-old sister to death and then they beat her unconscious. She woke up in a burning house and managed to escape. She is now in a refugee camp in Bangladesh. Her picture? Heart-rending and cheerless. I could see the life she’s lived in her eyes.
I read another absolutely heartbreaking story of women and children in Iraq who were victims of ISIS soldiers’ atrocities. It was horrifying and outrageous. I do not want to repeat it here.
Also today, I saw some pictures that made me cry: heartbreaking pictures of refugees. Again, it was the sadness and grief and what looked like lifetimes of grief and pain they’ve lived in their eyes. I looked around me and could see others had tears in their eyes. How do you not?
I was thinking about the cruelty and ferocity of stories like these. And I was thinking about our response. Is the ferocity of our outrage, anger, and action equal in response?
I feel quite helpless sitting here with a roof over my head.
I don’t know what to do, quite honestly, at this particular moment. I do know that in our world where such things happen, people are helping and responding. There are people who do care and are trying to do something, share time, resources, advocate for change, etc. That gives me hope.
But yet… I also think the outrage is too small. We may be momentarily shocked or saddened, but then, we move on to the next news story and promptly forget. Perhaps it is a kind of coldness. We’ve built tough walls of self-protection and self-preservation. Perhaps it ranges from an apathetic and hardened response to one of ignorance and to turning a deaf ear and blind eye to the pain and trouble and homelessness and sickness and death. Perhaps some of us would rather not know.
If we are comfortable, can we be bothered? Even a little? What makes us squirm? Does it have to hit closer to home?
Because, it seems to me, if the response were just as fierce or even more so, this world is big enough to take care of refugees. The word of “stop” could be loud enough and strong enough. The hands of “help” could be big enough.
Yet, here we are.
Do we love fiercely?
These are some questions I’m pondering, some questions that I’m asking also of myself.