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  • Owen Gunden

Animal People

“There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting animal people, and we are acting accordingly.” - Yoav Gallant, Defense Minister of Israel

We have felt horrified and saddened watching the US-supported bombing in Gaza. We’ve been sobered and frightened on behalf of 2 million vulnerable civilians, half children, whose lives and livelihoods are completely at the mercy of an enraged and powerful military force. We’ve felt helpless as Israel unilaterally cut off electricity, water, fuel, food to the region and proceeded to blow up Gazan homes. We felt a deep sadness and foreboding when the internet was taken offline, and 2 million people’s voices suddenly winked out, silenced, perhaps never to speak again and tell us the truth of what happened under the cover of darkness.

We are aware that the conflict of the past few weeks does not exist in a vacuum. We can’t understand the face of justice without understanding the history of land expropriation, human rights violations, apartheid, and other injustices that have been perpetuated against the Palestinian people for decades.

Furthermore, we’ve been disturbed seeing speciesism intertwined with racism in the rhetoric of Israeli and US government officials, with the highest level Israeli officials referring to Palestinian people as “human animals” or “animal humans." Normally, we embrace the term “human animal," to encourage a worldview that embraces non-human animals as more alike to us than they are different, and thus worthy of moral consideration and compassion. This is clearly not the intention of those using the terms on the political stage today; rather, their intention is to pull us away from our compassion and allow us to remain silent as Israel slaughters and butchers Palestinians just as our society does to non-human animals.

We are deeply troubled by the chilling atmosphere of speech in the US around this issue. We’re told this is a “war," yet there is only one army. They speak of an abstract opponent that wants to wipe out Israel; meanwhile Israel is actually perpetuating a lot more wiping out than anyone else. Today, anyone who speaks on behalf of peace or in favor of Palestinian resistance does so at great risk to their reputation. In many cases, speaking in defense of innocents is met with accusations of anti-semitism or supporting terrorism.

This is why we’re speaking in support of Palestine here. As an organization, we at Phauna are largely insulated from the powerful political and social forces at play, and as such we bear a greater responsibility to speak truth when it’s not popular to do so. We hope you’ll hear us and amplify the message of justice for all.


The animal people, human animals, and cockroaches at Phauna

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