They said that when Cherry – that’s what his name apparently was – fell off the slope, the rope twisted arround his neck. In the several minutes that it took to kill the elegant 2-year-old stallion, nobody came to his aid. His teenage handlers did not untie the rope. Cherry the horse died in a ditch in one of the biggest parks of Chisinau.
The case shocked the Moldovan web community to the core, although the initial incident did not get much reaction from the media. Animal abuse is part of deeply-ingrained culture. Punishment for criminals is laughable and literally unenforcible. In vilagges deaths like that are normal and go largely unnoticed.
Cherry’s owner, a 18-year-old woman who was promptly identified by Facebook users, was named and shamed accross the Moldovan internet. She used Cherry, another horse and a donkey to earn money from kid’s rides around the Valea Morilor lake and photoshoots with the pretty horses in the park. According to the owner’s Facebook post, the services of her animals cost a bit over 10 Euros each. The animals that lived in that very park in the open air were taken care of – if care is the word that can even be used in this instance – by a group of teenagers.
The stallion’s death was reported as an accident due to absence of witnesses. When the body of the horse disappeared from the Chisinau park, the owner began to insist that she sold the horse to some individual living in the north of Moldova. She insisted to authorities that she had no way to get in touch with the buyer. That’s when animal rights protection activist Karl Luganov came in.
With the assistance of a local policeman, Luganov managed to locate the place where he assumed that the horse may be burried. His suspicions turned out to be true, as Cherry was found not too far off from where he died. The stallion was identified using the microchip. After the photograph was published on Facebook, numerous eyewitnesses came out. The horses, they
said, worked in terrible conditions, were underfed, publicly beaten and deprived of medical attention… Cherry had a dog bite on one of his legs, which remained virtually untreated as he worked away the hours in the Chisinau park.
The owner – who is 18 by the way, only 18 – risks a fine of 1500 Moldovan lei (a bit over 50 Euros). According to Facebook discussion in multiple animal protection groups, her horses reportedly brought her something close to 4000 lei per day. Moldovan law does not allow stricter punushment. It does not enforce bans on keeping animals or the confiscation of the animals that remain with the offender. The girl that insisted that she sold the horse is back at work in Valea Morilor park, but can you really expect some remorse or prudence from an individual that posts things like “I can’t be loved, I’m a beast” on her Facebook page?
Goodreads description: Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.
The readers should not remain misguided by the title, for Mark Mason’s book isn’t pure and simply a book on how not to have a care in the world. Rather, it’s a book about learning to understand and to care about the things that truly matter in a way that will not damage you.
All the while I was reading The Simple Art of Not Giving a Fuck I kept enthusiastically repeating “Yes!” and “Indeed!” after reading every other statement. The things Mason talks about… I have come to learn some of them through years of nervous breakdowns, uncertainities, shaky self-confidence and lots of dead nervous cells. Through years of hearing hearing the people closest to me saying that I’m just not good enough until I’m this or that. What I have learned over all of these years is that acceptance matter. Sometimes you just have to accept things just the way they are. “Pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place. The more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel, regardless of how much money you actually make.“
Sometimes, in order to become strong you have to accept that you are inferior. Sometimes, in order to stay sane, you just have to accept that you are you, with all your faults… This is exactly the reason why The Simple Art of Not Giving a Fuck resonated with me so much.
In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who larks around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.
Goodreads book synopsis calls Naomi Alderman’s Power extraordinary, and yet, I cannot bring myself to call the novel something other than average. Or maybe a bit more than average.
Naomi Alderman does deliver an intriguing concept. At a certain point in time women become powerful – all of a sudden, the bodies of young girls all around the world can produce electricity. All the babies are born with it. The older women get the power from younger ones… The world is turned upside down, all the concepts of male-dominated societies go crashing down as women get the chance to fight back against opression.
The book follows a set of characters. Allie’s power comes through as her foster father is raping her. She kills the man and runs off, ending up in a covent and all of a sudden becoming a prophet of a female God. Btw, Allie hears a voice in her head that keeps driving her actions. Roxy is an illegitimate child of a British mob boss, her power comes through the moment enemies of her father come to kill her mother. Margot is an American politician, who receives the power from her teenage daughter Jos. Tunde is a Nigerian kid who becomes a journalist and a keen observer of the events that changed the world.
At some points towards the end of the novel I found myself skipping pages as the storylines got me questioning more and more how did Power get a 4* average on Goodreads. It’s hard not to question how so many readers got this book so wrong. Don’t get me wrong, Naomi Alderman’s writing IS good, but is not exceptional. At least not just yet. She depicts violence against women, she depicts violence committed against men, she writes about rape and abuse, about drugs, about power and the ways it corrupts people. Some part of the storylines reminded me of bad fanfiction. Power is ok, but it definitely isn’t a book that deserves another read.
Overall grade: 3*