You may recall that at last year’s staff meeting, I said that I was following a group of sub-Saharan animals who were trying to model a peace plan. A year later, it doesn’t seem that they have made much progress.
Things got off to a rocky start. A lioness offered to host the first session. She served zebra pate as one of the appetizers. Zebra pate is highly prized by the lions. Not so much by the zebras and other herbivores. The session ended before it began. The hyenas scarfed the pate before they left.
The lions sent off an apology of sorts: “We are sorry if the vegetarians on our task force were offended by our food. We did not understand that they would be offended if we ate our foods in our homes. We thought it would be sufficient to not eat our guests.”
A little terrified by these comments, the herbivores refused to meet with the carnivores. Finally a chimpanzee came up with a compromise. First, there would be no food served and no talk of killing. Second, the herbivores would be taken to and from the meetings in a vehicle provided by the humans (with no humans present). Third, the lions would send a male representative since they were the less predatory gender. Fourth, no animal would be allowed to attend meetings without signing the agreement.
After some discussion, the animals agreed to sign. The chimpanzee thought that the group was on its way to showing the humans how to cooperate. Particularly when they discovered that the male lion was content to sleep in the sun through most of the meetings.
So they moved onto water rights.
Hippo: I don’t think it’s right that the elephants get to drink so much water.
Elephant: At least we don’t lie in it all day and release “organic matter” into it.
Wildebeest: The water does taste like hippo sometimes.
Hippo: How do you know? Have you ever eaten a hippo?
Leopard: Not to create another crisis, but it does taste of hippo.
Hippo (offended): Fine. At least, I don’t wallow in mud like the warthog over there.
Warthog: What does that have to do with anything? You’re just being a bully.
Chimp: OK everyone, let’s get back on topic. How do we share the water?
Antelope: How about if the meat-eaters would let us get a drink in peace?
Cheetah: You’ve obviously never had to fight for food. We have to take it when we can find it.
Gnu: I knew this wasn’t going to work. It’s always back to food for the predators.
Cheetah: It’s not our fault that we have to eat meat to survive.
Hyena: Or that some of you are so tasty.
(Everyone glares at him. He slinks away.)
Elephant: See? That’s what I mean.
Lion (yawning): Will you all just be quiet? I just ate two gazelles and you’re ruining my digestion.
“Ace” Sopp reporting from Nairobi
(pictures courtesy of Google Images)