Why is boasting discouraged in our society

Persevere and don't get discouraged!

by Britt Weyde and Gert Eisenbürger
On the location of the Bonn Information Center Latin America (ILA)

We could have imagined a lot for 2020. But what came next, a global pandemic with many fatalities, exit and contact restrictions, past and coming lockdowns in Latin America as in Europe - no, we really couldn't imagine that.
Like everyone else in the ila, we try to deal with it. In March we largely switched our editorial work and our layout to virtual encounters and home offices. At least we managed to get this year's ila issues out on a regular basis.
Corona or Covid 19 not only changed and shaped our editorial work this year, the pandemic also took up a large part of ila’s reporting, as some regions of Latin America were massively affected by it. There were even more victims there than in Europe. Some of us also received news that people we knew had died of complications from Covid 19.
Even if we have been able to continue to appear so far, we do not know how it will continue in the longer term. A project like the ila is always a social context in which people meet and exchange ideas, discuss with one another and, above all, eat and drink together when it comes to the layout. This is extremely important for social projects. But that cannot happen at the moment - and nobody knows how long. Sure, editorial details can also be discussed at video conferences. But it was great when we met in person for the first time in months for the 2020/21 focus planning on a terrace. At that time we were in good spirits that we would slowly be able to return to a certain normalcy in ila operations. There were then also some working group meetings with three / four people to discuss the next focal points. For autumn it was planned to allow editorial meetings and layouts to take place at least partially with personal presence again. But that turned out to be an illusion in the course of September and especially in October. So continue by phone, email and the supposedly "social" networks. "Normality" is a long time coming, but we are not giving up.
The positive feedback we received from our readers was great. Many people have told us that it was good for them to see an ila in the mailbox again. Not only because of the content, but because it also meant a bit of normality in difficult times.
In addition to the many new challenges that 2020 brought, the old ones also persist, namely the monthly costs for rent, telecommunications, printing, layout and the modest wages of our part-time employees. We do not yet have these funds together for 2020/21.
With this in mind, we look forward to donations again this year (donation accounts at Postbank:
IBAN DE89 3701 0050 0058 3995 01 or Sparkasse Köln Bonn: IBAN DE65 3705 0198 1934 9412 77). And about new subscriptions.
Above all, we wish our readers and ourselves that we stay healthy and that those who get caught by the virus will survive the whole thing well.

Of animals and people
Editorial for the current issue

With the advent of Covid-19, a medical term became common knowledge: zoonoses. These are the infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animal to human and vice versa. Previous zoonotic viruses were analyzed, as well as the question of which factors contribute to the development of epidemics. Industrial animal husbandry was and is often criticized (for example with the 2009 swine flu in Mexico), as well as the ever increasing penetration of humans into the original habitats of wild animals. These debates have brought us to the fundamental question of what the coexistence of humans and animals currently looks like. And where things are in trouble everywhere.

On the one hand, there are the wild animals, which are increasingly being traded. This trade is the third largest illegal business in the world after arms and drugs, and it plays an important role in the Amazon region, for example. On the other hand, there are the animals that live with people. In the Andean countries, the camel animals (alpacas or llamas) are important livestock for the indigenous people. Or the communicative guinea pigs, which are important sources of protein and are eaten by the millions. In our focus, however, the Cuy is not presented as a culinary delicacy, but rather it comments, ennobled as a comic figure, the abysses of Peruvian society. Farm animals can become real companions, as the alpaca herder from Peru tells us, who talks to his animals and cries when they feel bad. This is reminiscent of a friend's story about his relationship with a chicken when he was a child. When he returned home from school, the hen always came running and greeted him.

In stark contrast to this is the exploitation of poultry for bloodthirsty cockfighting. Which brings us to the use of animals for human diversion. For example in zoos. They also want to impart knowledge, but at the private zoo of drug lord Pablo Escobar on the Colombian Magdalena River, the focus was more on bragging than pedagogy. Animal rights activists were happy to receive this news on November 30th: UNESCO has rejected the application of the "International Association for Bullfighting" (AIT) to decide whether bullfighting should be recognized as a World Heritage Site. The bitter discussion that broke out became a trending topic on Twitter in Spain.

The horse has an almost mystical meaning in the region of the Río de la Plata, as a loyal companion of the gaucho, which is why it is not surprising that bitter discussions about animal rights are being held there: The criticism is directed against the garbage collectors who are in front of their carts harness horses to transport the collected rubbish to the recycling site. An example of the discussion about the relationship between human rights and animal rights. Many vegans, who are also on the rise in Latin America, are putting animal rights on their agenda. However, representatives of agroecology rightly point out that completely avoiding animal husbandry is not expedient. A limited and area-related attitude is ultimately indispensable in order to be able to maintain sustainable nutrient cycles (keyword: fertilizers made from animal substances). A contradiction to the vegan world. As part of natural rights, animal rights play an important role in indigenous cosmovisions, and Amerindian perspectivism outlines a radical alternative to looking at humans and animals.

"The size and moral progress of a nation can be measured by how they treat their animals," Mahatma Gandhi already knew. Accordingly, all countries that torture animals in large fattening systems are morally quite backward. Argentina is currently preparing to become a major exporter of pork by means of a gigantic deal with China - at the expense of animals and humans.

Several articles in this focus are devoted to the depiction of animals in literature, be it in essays, novels, comics, artfully illustrated non-fiction books for children or even poetry. In this respect, dealing with the multifaceted and complex relationship between humans and animals has given us a lot of pleasure, despite the often depressing overall situation of animal rights in general and the “pig system” in particular.

With this issue, the ila editors say goodbye to the winter break, the next ila will be published in mid-February 2021. We wish all readers nice, relaxing and entertaining days off.
And the Beueler Extradienst would like to thank you for your kind permission to take over numerous important texts.

About the author: Guest authors

Under the name "guest authors" we summarize a number of very different and often irregular authors and sources. These can be individual persons, but also institutions. Thank you very much for the kind permission to take over the contributions!

All posts by guest authors in this blog.