Tuesday, June 26, 2007

If You Stick Your Head in the Lion's Mouth...

While perusing the Daily Mail I saw this piece about kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston. A new videotape has surfaced showing the reporter wearing what appears to be an explosives-filled vest of the kind made infamous by suicide bombers. Observers have speculated that Johnston’s kidnappers, the self-styled Army of Islam, intend to murder Johnston by detonating the vest if there is an attempt to rescue him. Hamas, the terror group which claims to govern Gaza, can’t seem to locate Johnston, which seems odd given the thousands of Hamas gunmen on the streets and the very small size of Gaza. I happened to come across this piece after having read and commented on another Daily Mail item about a silly man who likes to cuddle with wild lions (see Wild Kingdom below). It occurs to me these two seemingly unrelated stories have an underlying commonality.

As I have pointed out elsewhere, the premise of the lion whisperer’s act is a romantic view of nature that has more to do with our childish expectations than reality. Many people seem to believe that love is naturally requited – all we have to do is give love and love will be ours in reward. Thus Kevin Richardson heaps affection on the lions, and they seem to reciprocate. The operative word is seem, however. Lions are predators of man-sized prey, and they are highly competitive within their social group. Sooner or later the lion whisperer will run afoul of one or another leonine behavioral imperative – one day he’ll trigger a predation response or get involved in some kind of status conflict -- either way he’s dead.

Alan Johnston is also a kind of lion whisperer. For several years Johnston has been among the most avidly pro-Palestinian journalist reporting in English. In fact his submissions to the BBC were so favorable to Hamas that he was only Western journalist allowed to be permanently based in Gaza. A typical leftist, Johnston took a romantic view of Hamas, Fatah and other terrorist groups, seeing them as underdogs struggling against injustice, and ignoring the decades of savage anti-semitic behavior that got the Palestinians into their sorry state. Well, he chose to lie down amidst the beasts, rubbing their bellies and cooing soft words, and now they are about to devour him in recompense.

1 comment:

TheRankingMissP said...

Yay! Lion whisperer!