by Sadeq Hedayat, Translated from the Persian by Farzin Yazdanfar
Ah! My body is shuddering from pain. This is my reward for all the services I have done for this ruthless, cruel two-legged animal. Today is my last day, and this is my only consolation! After having lived a life full of hardship, suffering and trouble, after having endured unbearable loads, repeated blows from stick and chain and the curses of passers-by, thank God that I am bidding farewell to this dreadful life.
Here is Shemiran Road. Today my legs were crushed in a car accident because of my master’s carelessness. That is why I am in this situation. After beating me and using foul language, they dragged my wounded body to the road side and left me there – alone. Perhaps they had forgotten that they could still use my horseshoes and hide! They seemed to have lost hope in me.
Will they bring me food in time? No… I have to die in great torment and hunger because I am no longer any use to them.
Ah! The pain is getting more severe and blood is still running from my wounds. What kind of beast is this human being who has dominated us, made our lives shameful, disgraceful and full of suffering and hardship, hurt our natural, frank and friendly feelings, constantly wounded our bodies, and made our lives unpleasant and deplorable. On the surface, he looks similar to us; and, like us, he finally dies. In this respect, there seems to be no difference between us; however, he seems to be made of wood and stone because he whips us as if we had no feelings. If he could feel pain, he would have mercy on us.
These torture instruments that human beings use are unnatural. They themselves have made them. It is sometime since societies called “Humane Societies” have been established in Europe and the United States to defend the rights of animals. Specific laws have been enacted to defend the rights of animals and to stop human beings’ cruelty and unjust dealings towards them. Are those who belong to these societies the same as these beasts? Impossible! If they were the same, their hearts could not be made of stone.
Natural scientists do not see a big difference between themselves and us, and regard themselves as the head of the mammals. But Descartes, one of the well-known philosophers, thinks he has proven that animals are nothing but moving machines. In other words, with the advancement of technology, it is mechanically possible to build animals. In the pursuit of this vain idea, other philosophers have stood up against him. Among them Schopenhauer has defended us. He states that the basic principle of ethics is having mercy not only on our own kind but also on other animals and, to some extent, he has explained our feelings and intelligence in his book of ethics. Someone else has said that it is amusing to some mothers to see their kids cutting off a bird’s head or wounding a dog or a cat in their games. This is the root of corruption and the basis of cruelty, oppression and crime. In fact, the injustice which is done to us is as a result of the unjust way some mothers educate their children.
Alas! We are speechless and this is the cause of our misery. Only Aristotle has found out the truth about our lives. He says: “Human beings are talking animals.” It is because of human beings’ ability to speak that we have fallen victim of the lust and capriciousness of a bunch of greedy and egotistic beasts. Why haven’t people followed these philosophers? It is evident that human beings’ intentions are based on their personal interests. This is especially true with mule drivers who are all followers of Descartes and treat us as if we were lifeless objects.
Having mercy on animals is essentially an idea which was developed in the Orient. Besides, all the prophets have forbidden cruelty towards animals. Learned men, wise men, writers who write about moral issues and even poets are all in agreement on the subject of animal rights. For instance, Hakim Ferdousi, may God rest his soul, says, “Don’t torment an ant who bears a seed upon his back because the creature is alive and life is sweet to him.”
But all these words have produced no results because of the lack of a law for preventing and limiting human beings’ cruelty and their limitless cupidity and avidity. If my legs had been crushed in the West, I would have been relieved from this futile suffering or they would have put me to sleep! Ah! Save me from the pain and hunger! I wish I were free to live among animals of my own kind in pastures with a nice climate and to die on the day determined by my destiny. But now I am dying of hunger and hardship in captivity. This is the awful consequence of the life of a speechless animal who has been enslaved by this two-legged creature. I have to burn in the fire that they have kindled. Ah! My patience has reached its limits…! Human beings are killers of the oppressed. Why don’t they take untamed and rapacious animals into captivity and put them in service? The only sin that we, tamed animals, have committed is the fact that we are harmless and deprived of our daily food.
The world has become dark and murky before my eyes. My body has grown feeble from the suffering inflicted on me by hunger. I can hear somebody’s footsteps. Perhaps this is my master who is feeling sorry for my unhappiness and bringing me food. No, it is just a kid who throws a stone at me and runs away.
The sooner I die the sooner I will be able to take vengeance from this cruel tyrant before the court of eternal justice.
Translator’s Note: * This translation was first published in Daftar-e Honar, vol.3, no. 6, September 1996.
Source – http://www.blindowl.org/olagh.html