Learned the History Changed Me to be a Vegetarian

Hi, my name is Joanna, I'm 34 and I come from Poland. Oh, what is the most important - from over a year? I do not eat meat.

Many people will tell it's nothing, a year is nothing, but I think it is not the scale of time but the scale of attitude.

I've found your posts via facebook and decided to share with you my story. I don't know if it's inspiring for others but I've just felt the need to write to you.

.... don't know how to start.

Well I probably must write few words about my country's culture as it is crucial for vegetarianism being not so popular here.

I was born in 1979 in times of a big crisis in Poland. Clothes were reglamented, food was reglamented, especially meat. If you wanted to buy meat you needed to have coupons form the government distributed via factories and offices (I do not use the term companies as there was not private property at that time in business). It is not surprising that when the system changed this very "rare food" became sth. that poor people wanted to have a lot. It was like foreign cars, foreign clothes.

The national diet that before World War II (and the communist times that came after) was not based on meat but rather on different kinds of groats and vegetables has dramatically changed. Now the most common vege became the potato and wheat and of course always with a piece of fried pork....

And that how I've been raised. Sunday (catholic most important day in the week) chicken soup and potatoes with pork chop.

No one questioned it as this kind of eating became a matter of your social status and later a habit. New generations had forgotten old before war way of cooking. Also the subject of war was not popular.

We have changed the political system and came from one communist lie about the truth into another...

There are millions of people like I who didn't want to learn country's history as we knew what we art toughed in schools is another story, but not the truth.

Why am I writing about it. Well because it was finally not the pictures of animals being slaughter or kept in captivity but one historical book that made me quit eating meat one sunny Autumn afternoon.

doctors from hellThe book is called “Doctors from Hell: The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans”, the author is Vivien Spitz. This lady was a reporter during lawsuits against Nazi officers that had been working in Auschwitz and other concentration camps in my country.

But it was not the images of cruelty that had taken place there that had convinced me to become vegetarian. It was sth. that was described in this book more as a background- it was the truth description of how the world did look like than.

Well the sad truth was that beside the fact that technology was at the lover lever the world was the same, the people were the same. Their mentality, capacity to compassion and to take actions. And that scared me a lot.

In this time murder of people took place not only in concentration camps but (in this case Germans) were killing their own nation, If a person just did not fit into a fashion ideology of eugenic that was popular at that time.

Therefore all old people, disable people, but also children who simply did not behave good in school were put to gas chambers. Yes, in the beginning Germans had gas chambers on the territory of their own country, and people from places where those chambers were placed knew it. They have been watching the chimneys that let out the smoke of burned bodies every day, and none reacted. They have been turning away their heads, thinking that they cannot be labeled "socially redundant" and it is not their business. Someone up there (authorities, government) knows what they are doing right?

So as soon as humans build a system and make some idea legitimate in the name of "law" it is no longer socially inappropriate. It's legal, meaning good.

And than it made me think that in our human history we have a lot of examples of killing or exploring someone because "it is legal". Slavery of which we now think it was so bad, was not "bad" at all at the times when it was legal. Couldn't be bad as it was legal. Once you place a label on a living being and create a system to it the being becomes an object in the system.

So today we label some beings as animals and just this tiny label (you animal, me human) makes the difference of being alive vs. being dead and consumed... of course always in the name of some higher values (like nutrition, giving jobs ect.) - the values of the system, the false facts that make people not to question the system... just like it was in Germany during World War II.

As long as people will not see this fact of eating animals being a part of a system we are not civilized at all. There is no civilisation progress on our planet; it is just technological progress, but not civilization progress.
As long we allow systems to exist it is very easy to come up with another system of labeling people (and convince public opinion for legal exploration of those labeled ones). There is no difference between labeling some living creature "an animal" and labeling a human a 'Nigro', 'a disabled and socially reluctant', 'a Tutsi or Hutu', a 'Jew'. Then you just need to come up with 'legal' descriptions of what can you do with labeled object and another system is ready.

I've quit on meat because I do not want to support those systems. When you look at killing animals as at a system, there is really no difference between this system and the system of legitimate killing people (like it was during World War II) I do not want to be another wheel in the system. I admire freedom of thinking and making up decisions. I think eating animals (living in such system) sooner or later will again evolve into killing (maybe eating) other people. The line is very thin, thinner than we think.

So this was my 'testimony'. Please excuse my English as I do not use it for over a decade.

Take care,
Joanna Kucharska – Małyszka

PS. If every one of us inspired ONE person to go meatless imagine the difference we could make in ten years time. I am going to collect inspirational vegetarian/vegan stories to share with everyone. If you think your story will inspire others, please share with me by sending it to info@veglov.com. I will post your stories on this www.veglov.com blog. I believe everyone has his/her own story, I think it must be great when we can share our stories and inspire others. Let’s make the world a better place.
Xiao Kang.

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