Reflections of a Sentient Being
As I sit here chained to this post, my eyes closed, my body weary from continual torture from the hot metal rod used to control me, I reflect on my life.
That rod and my masters boots that stamp on my head, body, arms and legs makes me anxious all the time.
The intense sun from which I am allowed no shade, day in, day out, burns my skin. No suncream for me for I am just a little monkey.
Each day I pray for night when ‘master’ falls asleep in another drunken slumber. This time is my time, my only release from his brutality.
Before he sleeps he often gives me one last kick showing his drunken friends how he is able to make me do anything he wants. Sometimes his friends, laughing, have a go too.
My body is covered in burn marks and bruises but tourists don’t seem to mind as they queue to take photos. I’m just a little monkey who should be living freely in the jungle where I was born, but fate and a poachers net delivered me here.
It’s not just physical pain inflicted on me by my captors that hurts, it’s the intense loneliness, deprived of company with my own kind causes a deep depression.
I tried to make friends with master but he just kicks or stabs me.Why? I’m just a sociable monkey with no friends or family, my master is all I have.
I know all humans aren’t like this, once a little human boy and his dad tried to buy me. They were visibly upset at the way I was treated and tried to free me by offering money.
My Master didn’t accept and eventually they got back on the bus as it would have left without them. I remember the sadness in the boys eyes as he looked back for one last time. My one chance of a happier life evaporated as the bus moved away.
I remember seeing the little boy crying, his hands against the rear window, tears in his eyes. As I watched him disappear we both knew this was my last chance of freedom. We had ‘connected’, two species of ape divided by millions of years of evolution and the chain around my neck.
I’m old now and tired. Monkeys don’t live as long as humans, my time is nearly up. It will be a relief. I’m so tired of being chained up 24 hours every day, being poked with a hot iron, being kicked by the man who bought me for a few dollars from my kidnappers all those years ago, and ‘yes’ tired of human tourists who laugh and poke fun at me as if I’m a freak!
I’m not a freak you see I’m a highly intelligent species of Monkey who should be head of my own family back in the Brazilian Rain Forest where I was captured.
I was terrified when the kidnappers pounced, my family ran screeching into the trees. My mum tried to free me but didn’t know how. I wonder where she is now, was she caught too? My greatest hope is that she isn’t chained to a post like me.
On that awful day many years ago I felt myself being lifted into the air before being thrown into a hot metal container. My feet and hands were burnt as they touched the scorching sides. I tried to scramble up the sides but there were no branches or leaves it was all so unfamiliar, just hot metal and an intense airless heat. I now know this was a lorry but to me it was just something I couldn’t escape from, something I soon learnt I would never escape from.
So I sit here years later, old and weary but not without hope. Perhaps one day a kind human will read this and do something about it rather than turning the page. I know there are kind humans, just as there are cruel ones. My hope and the hope of my species is that one day these caring humans will use the one thing they have that I do not, the freedom of thought and ability to do something positive in the world.
It’s not only us monkeys that suffer of course. Elephants, Donkeys and many ‘lessor’ species suffer from unimaginable cruelty by humans.
I understand human beings also do terrible things to each other, often in the name of what they call religion or politics. This is something which as a ‘mere’ primate is really hard for me to understand. Why cause harm to other sentient beings when there is an alternative?
My hope is that one day, good will triumph over evil and human beings understand that animals further down the food chain accept being used for food, much as an antelope accepts she may become breakfast for a lioness, but to be ‘used’ in a cruel and thoughtless way when still alive and able to feel mental and physical pain is another thing and something they should think deeply about before inflicting.
Wherever possible be kind, it is always possible.
Interpreted from Monkey to English by Stephen Fear July 2015.