Celebrating Animal Rights Activist Brigitte Bardot's Birthday Today: Message and biographical archival material from Zeena
In a clandestine operation on the Full Moon, February 28 of 1991, eighty Mongolian wolves were freed from a fur farm in Hungary and transported by the Brigitte Bardot Foundation to safe refuge in France. I was among the volunteers who cared for the wolves during their overnight stay at the Salzburg Zoo.
Only two weeks after that wolf rescue, there was an editorial in The European newspaper glorifying the glamour of celebrities who die young, while at the same time decrying likes of Brigitte Bardot as a bitter old has-been, animal rights nut-case (presumably because she didn't kick the bucket prematurely, like the other youthfully deceased celebrities listed in the article). After having witnessed the genuinely selfless efforts by the Bardot Foundation, which made a lasting impression on me, I felt compelled to write a rebuttal (a scan of the original letter is at the end of this post).
Bardot had long been an inspiration to me; a woman with principles and compassion who turned her back on celebrity status to focus on animal liberation. The journalist's name has been removed. However, my respect for Mme. Bardot and the sentiments expressed in my letter remain as strong if not stronger today.
The below quote describes the moment Bardot knew what her life's mission was to be:
„Durante un film, sul set c'era una capretta. La proprietaria mi ha detto 'si sbrighi a finire la sua scena, perché domenica è la comunione di mio nipote e dobbiamo farla allo spiedo'. Ho comprato la bestiola e l'ho portata con me, attaccata a una corda, nell'hotel a cinque stelle. Me la sono portata in camera, che scandalo. Quel giorno ho preso la decisione di smettere con il cinema e di aiutare gli animali. Era il giugno 1973, avevo 38 anni.“. --Brigitte Bardot
To an amazingly strong and dignified woman who has survived many storms and saved many sentient beings' lives: May she have the very best of birthdays!
-Om Mani Padme Hum-
Note: More about the wolf rescue is in BEATDOM #11: The Nature Issue
To celebrate October World Animal Month*, Zeena honors our non-human companions in a limited edition 2021 photo-art calendar. Vibrant original works for monthly contemplations on themes of animal rights and spiritual liberation.
The calendar is printed on fine art quality premium paper suitable for cropping and framing after use.
Dimensions: 300x200mm / 8”x11½”
Personalized autography option located in the drop-down menu. If you have animals (or a group of animals) for which you'd like Zeena's personalized blessings, simply send your and their (the animals) names to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to her personalized message. To ORDER click HERE.
To U.S. Customers: If you're ordering this as a gift, please consider that due to severe restrictions on parcels entering the U.S. from overseas, delivery is only allowed via ship and can take up to 8 weeks to reach destination. You will receive an email notification the day your order is sent, with tracking number, so you can follow its status.
Message from Zeena about the calendar below.
*A brief history of World Animal Day (and month) at the end of this post.
Message from Zeena:
“How many of our lives would feel incomplete without our magical familiars, totem animals, or service and emotional support animals? How many of us also feel compassion for the unseen, forgotten, unloved, feral or endangered animals? Within my 'Blessed Beasts' calendar, each tableau reveals the deeper emotional intelligence of the lovely creatures depicted. Sometimes it's in their expression, their body language, a knowing glance or an attitude which conjures a sense of loyalty, companionship, nobility, or wisdom. For pagan and shamanic religions, all animal species have inherent magical powers associated with and symbolizing different aspects of different gods. On the basis of my Tibetan Buddhist yogic training, I patiently develop a rapport with the animals I photograph by chanting specific tantric Buddhist mantras which gradually relax and open the beasts to loving-kindness and the liberating vibrations of these ancient sacred syllables. Hence the title, 'Blessed Beasts.'
In relation to the theme of the 2021 calendar, as well as October being World Animal Month, I ask you to consider donating or volunteering to any animal welfare organizations of your choice (if you don't already). In these difficult times, during the world-wide pandemic and its collateral damage, let's not forget the brave warriors who risk their own safety, health and emotional well-being to continue caring for animals in need. I have my preferred animal aid organizations to which I regularly contribute. But it really doesn't matter whether you do so for a small animal protection group in your own town, or to the neighborhood feral cat lady or bird man who contributes their free time caring for injured and sick wildlife, or whether you choose a reputable international organization – please consider making a donation to help any of them!
For more information on spiritual practices for your animals, including prayers for sick and dying animals, I recommend Lama Zopa's Enlightenment for the Dear Animals website at https://enlightenmentforanimals.org/
In closing, I send blessings and prayers to all animals and those humans who help them, and especially those who have suffered and perished this year as the result of natural and man-made disasters.
May the creatures you aid today return to you as Enlightened Mother Beings of your future lifetimes!
-Om Mani Padme Hum-
Brief History of World Animal Day/Month:
'World Animal Day' is celebrated each year on October 4th. World Animal Day was originated by the specialist in canines, Heinrich Zimmermann. He organized the first World Animal Day on 24 March 1925 at the Sport Palace in Berlin, Germany. Over 5,000 people attended this first event. The event was originally scheduled for 4 October, to align with the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, a nature lover and patron saint of animals and the environment. However the venue was not available on that day. The event was moved to 4 October for the first time in 1929. Initially he found a following only in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Czechoslovakia. Every year Zimmermann worked tirelessly on the promotion of World Animal Day. Finally, in May 1931 at a congress of the International Animal Protection Congress in Florence Italy, his proposal to make 4 October World Animal Day universal was unanimously accepted and adopted as a resolution. Today, World Animal Day is a global event that unites the animal protection movement agencies and has expanded to encompass the entire month of October with different events globally.
A personal message from Zeena:
I'd like to share an important three-part film project, which I endorse, called "Women vs. Warlords". The film aims to bring greater world-wide awareness of the struggles and oppression of Afghani women under the current Taliban rule. The most urgent goal right now is for filmmakers Diarmuid Brannick (Co-ordinator) and Tim Hood (Camera Operator, Director) to get into Afghanistan next week to interview Malalai Joya, activist for women's education and literacy in that country. An extremely risky undertaking as Malalai Joya has suffered assassination attempts; a risk which could extend to Western filmmakers attempting to reveal the current plight of women in Afghanistan.
My reasons for endorsing this project:
The Afghanistan region gave birth to the origins of Tibetan tantric Buddhism as we know it today; a religion of peace, loving-kindness and in particular, reverence for the feminine principle within the mystical practices of tantric Buddhism.
Prior to the Islamic conquest of Afghanistan between the 7th to the 10th centuries, Buddhism was a major religion in the region. Around the beginning of the 21st century, among other oppressive and destructive actions, the Taliban destroyed two of the largest and oldest Buddha statues in existence, dating back to the 6th century, C.E., a blatant display of disregard for world protests and world heritage sites.
The Buddhist Master Padmasambhava (or Guru Rinpoche) was born in the 8th century in South West Odiyana, also known as Lake Danakosha, located on the Afghanistan-Pakistan frontier. Padmasambhava brought tantric Buddhism from this region to Tibet and as a result Tibetans consider him “the second Buddha” to the Buddha Shakyamuni. Tibetan Buddhism is one of the few world religions which reveres its female religious leaders, feminine deities, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, dakinis and yoginis equally to their male counterparts.
As a Tibetan Buddhist yogini who has been initiated in the mystical practices and teachings originating from this region, I believe that the empowerment of the women of this sacred land to be of utmost importance.
The full description of this ambitious project can be read at THIS LINK.
(An excerpt is posted below.)
If this project moves you as it did me, please consider any donation toward funding - it would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you for taking the time to read this!
OM MANI PADME HUM and Š-L-M
An Excerpt of the Filmmakers' Description:
Today in Afghanistan women are fighting for their lives, for their future, for everything.
We are seeking to send an Irish film crew, 2 people, to Kabul, Afghanistan for 4 days in late December 2019 for the purpose of conducting an extended interview and short film with Malalai Joya, a prominent human rights and literacy activist, who despite assassination attempts and smear campaigns continues to fight for her people.
The interview will be the first in a planned series of feature length interviews with three of Afghanistan's bravest women: Previously mentioned Malalai Joya, Journalist and women’s rights activist Farahnaz Forotan and celebrated educator Dr Sakena Yacoobi.
The focus of these in-depth conversations; the fight for women's rights and the power of literacy in that fight.
By amplifying the voices of these women, starting with Malalai Joya we seek to strengthen their resolve, the resolve of their supporters and share a deeper more intimate insight into their lives.
With the emerging presence of Islamic State in Afghanistan and the US negotiating with the Taliban, supporting, safeguarding and emboldening female leaders in the country is the single most important thing we can possibly do.
Afghanistan is widely considered to be the worst place in the world to be a woman, and is one of the only countries in the world with a higher female suicide rate than male. The situation for some women and girls is so bad they actually set themselves on fire in desperate protest or as means of ending their lives.
Amid government failure, among the fundamentalists, warlords and criminals battling for control and resources, through the years and different phases of dominion, despite widespread unquestioned misogynistic traditional beliefs many ordinary Afghans, especially women have risked their lives to empower their people. They have risked their lives to bring the light of literacy and smash the bonds of subjugation.
Please support us!
Update DECEMBER 16, 2019 by Diarmuid Brannick, Organizer
We have just over €2000 left to raise, all our costs have been brought to bare minimum to make this important project happen. If you can pledge a final donation or know anyone who could, please ask them. €10 or €20 at this point from enough people will make it all possible. Thank you!
Detailed information in this link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/women-v-warlords