Yesterday some of us said our final goodbyes to our friend, Liesl during a beautiful memorial service.
An abundance of flowers, burning incense, wind chimes, and farewell notes suspended like prayer flags, champagne, love and laughter in bright colours… a day we will not easily forget.
So whereto from here?
Liesl’s passing has manifested the largest interest in veganism that I know of here in our midst. Her Vegan Explorer Lowveld page has grown overnight, and so has our WhatsApp group, Vegan Lowveld Friends.
But Liesl also left an immense void in the arena she was participating in. I believe every single one of us who know and understand the truth, as she certainly did, need to join hands and stand together. We not only need to fill the gap, but escalate her efforts exponentially. Like a huge web of connectedness we need to spread far and wide so that all who want to know, all who want to hear and want to join the journey of veganism has the opportunity to do so – freely, safely, spontaneously – with all the help and support we can give. I believe the time has come for those of us still on the fence to get off, to start participating and become activists that follow in Liesl’s footsteps. Albert Schweitzer said: “Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.” Read this quote carefully and you will see that it is not about passiveness, it is about extending our circles of compassion that will mobilise humanity towards a cruelty-free tipping point. We need to tell people about the truth, gently and with kindness, in a non-judgmental way. In my heart I still believe that it is ignorance and its darkness that keep the vicious circle of violence and cruelty going. We need to join those who are already putting on the lights, we need to be there when the going gets tough. But rest assured, we don’t have to fight any wars any longer. Our work needs to prevent the wars. Tolstoy said “As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields”. Yes, the violence on the killing floor sits in the zeitgeist – it infiltrates the very essence of life as hell on earth. This is our work – to stop the violence, the cruelty, the abuse, the skewed ‘dominion’. We need to become the voices for the voiceless – tirelessly, for all of them, everywhere, wherever we are and whatever crosses our paths.
Be strong, hold on, the journey is rough, but the end will be beautiful – with love and laughter in bright colours… when all the cages are empty!
Lots of love