Cultural Appreciation

Earlier this week I saw Tweet by the well know TV broadcaster, photographer and naturalist Chris Packham.

Happy Christmas @VisitFaroe @TheFaroeIslands @Tinganes I hope Santa visits this child and brings her some compassion , a respect for life , an awareness of conservation and the desire to grow up and drag your community into the 21st Century RT

Within this tweet was the following photograph…

At first glance I think you would agree that it’s a horrible photo – I certainly think so. If I apply my thoughts and cultural background on it I think it’s deplorable. But, is Packham right to attack the child in the photo?

Here are a selection of the replies he got to the tweet.

Jeez Chris, this is pretty low. She’s a kid, take it down.

That is sickening. What a horrible child, and parents for that matter

This has been the norm for centuries in the Faroes. It’s very easy for us to be sanctimonious and forget there are still cultures who don’t see wildlife as we do. We can try change this, but not by insults.

A child stood atop a dead animal is questionable & is subsequently deemed “horrible”. It would be just as abhorrent, if this was a livestock animal. Any human glorifying death, particularly in the way the image depicts, is horrible. Plus, not all children condone their parents.

Having spoken with Faroese fishermen last year, I was told that grind participation had been dwindling each year, until a group who the Faroese people saw as foreign extremists went up protesting against the grind. All the protests did was to ignite a passion in a new generation

Let me be clear – I am not here defending what they are doing – it’s pretty barbaric and uncalled for. However, there’s is a different culture to ours in the UK and other countries. Much the same and Chinese culture is different to the UK or even that of culture in the USA. But many people seem to gloss over that for their own professionally offended purposes.

I don’t much like the thought of eating dog. But dog meat it eaten in many counties and cultures around the world. In fact, it’s not limited to the Far East as many people think – dog is eaten in Switzerland too! But I don’t see this being lambasted on Twitter by attention grabbing celebrities trying to keep their profile up until the next series of Springwatch.

The fact is that there are many, many practices that occur in many, many cultures around this world that people from different cultures find odd, weird, cruel and downright disgusting. But that’s the beauty of our planet – we are all these cultures on one tiny rock in the infinitum of the galaxy. Should we be trying to alter other cultures so that eventually all of them become the same homogeneous blend? Of course not. It’s okay to be offended, to not like something, to find it abhorrent and it’s okay to protest about it. But please do so with the understanding that in other cultures they see nothing wrong with what they are doing because they don’t view the world in the same way that you do.

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