Mweza (CAN DO)

'Man of the Forest' by  Denise Monaghan , shared with artist's permission

'Man of the Forest' by Denise Monaghan, shared with artist's permission

And it wasn’t the countless corpses flowing downstream in muddy water or the petrified bodies at the museum. Too many for any one to count.

It was the youngster, Mweza. The one rescued from the poacher’s trap only to be lost on pride. The one you’d met, if briefly.

As if her sole purpose in living, Mweza would teach you what it means to be shattered by love.

Her legacy given in the feeling of what it is
to watch a delight die while thinking you could have helped her

note: MWEZA is dedicated to all, including poachers, who have gone without proper care and attention that is available yet withheld. Mweza, loosely translated ‘Can Do’, is a young mountain gorilla rescued by Bill Weber, Amy Vedder, and Dian Fossey. The poem is informed by memory of a film documenting the 1994 slaughter of approximately one million Tutsi men, women, and children in Rwanda and a reflection on that genocide along with the story of Mweza’s death authored by Bill and Amy in their book In the Kingdom of Gorillas, Simon & Schuster, 2001.

MWEZA was originally shared in an Extinction Witness post September 2015 during a month's witness with primates that considered the roots of violent competition. The work was accompanied by Denise Monaghan’s paintings and referenced Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle by Douglas Emlen. 

Megan Hollingsworth