Ho Chi Minh


First Published: Le Paria, February 1, 1923
Source: Selected Works of Ho Chi Minh Vol. 1
Publisher: Foreign Languages Publishing House
Transcription/Markup: Christian Liebl
Online Version: Ho Chi Minh Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2003

We have racked our yellow brains in vain, yet we cannot succeed in discovering the reason which led the men and women of France to found the remarkable institution called the ‘Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’. First, the reason escapes us because we see that there are still so many unfortunate human beings who appeal without result for a little care. Then, because all these animals do not deserve so much benevolence and are not as unhappy as all that. Except for the black lion who is useful to people accustomed to wrapping their feet in animal pelts, most of these creatures are wicked, very wicked indeed.

Does not the bulldog — with his ugly teeth — come to tear away the entire structure of the Paris Conference? Which obliges the Flemish monkey and the Gallic cock to confront the German eagle in the Ruhr alone. Did not the Tiger, while he was still chained, devour several ministries of the Republic? Were not millions and billions uselessly expended through the agency of our glorious friends Kolchak and Wrangel to buy the skin of the Muscovite bear who, today more than ever, has no mind to let people have it all their own way? (Ah! What an animal!)

Which of our friends in France has not cause to complain of the vultures' misdeeds? Are not crows disastrously destructive in the moral field? And what do the 'chats-fourres' do if not profit by dissensions and discords in society? Is there not one animal which impudently permits that all disrespectful sons-in-law call their mothers-in-law by its name? Are there not expensive lovebirds which darken the conjugal bliss of many a family? And are not cat-burglars the age-old enemies of those who move from home?

Without taking account of the fact that the stronger wolf is always right and that black sheep are a plague to honest society, we... but let us speak a little, before concluding, of colonial beasts.

Just at the moment when M. Guinal is ready to present to the Academy of Sciences, through the medium of M. Mangin, a note relating to the utilization of shark skin, M. Albert Sarraut goes to the Isle of Dogs to deliver some of his ministerial speeches to the frozen cod of Saint-Pierre- et-Miquelon, and M. Citroen, for his part, launches his civilizing ‘caterpillar’ across the Sahara. Both these missions — official and semi-official — will very probably obtain the happy result that people have a right to expect from them, to whit, to know how to make a mouse bring forth a mountain and consolidate the position of the colonial sharks.

It is generally believed that our protectors always carry out an ostrich policy. What a mistake, my friends! Here is proof to the contrary: on the mere invitation of the sardine at the ‘old port’, the Colonial Government has not hesitated a moment to cause to be spent by:

1 — Indo-China
2 — French West Africa
3 — French Equatorial Africa
4 — The Cameroons
5 — Madagascar
6 — Martinque
7 — Guadeloupe
8 — Guiana
9 — New Caledonia
10 — New Hebrides
11 — Oceania
12 — French Settlements in India
13 — Somaliland
14 — Reunion
15 — Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon

to bring a few camels, cows and crocodiles from the colonies to Marseilles. No effort, it must be admitted, was spared by our civilizers to deck out a handful of native sparrows — very obedient and very docile ones — in peacock feathers to turn them into parrots or watch-dogs. And if the African and Asian peoples are aware of this ‘peace’ and this ‘prosperity’, who then, are the busy beavers but those untiring ‘disseminators of democracy’?

In short, the lot of all these animals is relatively easy. If the members of the lofty S. P. C. A. had time to spare, they would perhaps do more useful work in taking care of the monkeys martyrized by Doctor Voronoff and the poor native sheep which are forever being shorn.