Saturday, June 23, 2007


Dear Dodo,

I will be honest and I will tell you up-front that I did not know much about you - that is until Julien Lepers made your glorious portrait in one of his "questions" at TV5 Monde! You may wonder who is Julien, what is a "question"... - let me tell you for one thing how surprised I was when I realized that you are the symbol of Mauritius today! Is that not "posthumous" (for lack of a better word) fame, or what? Of course, of course I know what you are going to respond: "What does it matter now since I am dead?" Well, this is something we do often down here on earth: first we kill, then we bestow glory! Oh! Just because I hate leaving questions unanswered, let me tell you that you appeared on a television show.. and Julien was the host..

But this is all nonsense what I am writing here.. You do not even know what a television is... But I cannot go into that, it will take me forever to finish off, and you must know that we, modern human beings, are on a "tight schedule", we have a thing we call clock and it regulates our lives.. it tells us how much time we have to accomplish something, until we move on to the next one.. So I beg for your understanding, please bear with me and I promise I will answer all questions you may have. Speaking of begging, this is probably the point we should start apologizing, I and my fellow humans, begging for your forgiveness...

I am very much aware by now that the reason why you are not among us, is because people like me -well, my/our ancestors to be precise- decided to put you out of this world. When the first sailors arrived in Mauritius in the 16th century they spotted you immediately since you could not fly...then you know the story. You could not fly and we could not wait - we humans, let me tell you that, we can get very greedy.. In just about a century you were "extinct" - fancy word for a terrible act, don't you agree? Much as I would have liked for you to continue to roam in Mauritius, so I could come and visit you, I only wonder, was it perhaps better that you never lived to see our "décadence"?

I do not know how much of a consolation this is to you, but I must tell you that it is not only innocuous species like you that we are after; we go after pretty much everything that can give us even minimal utility, we even go after our fellow humans. No! No! Do not think that we eat human flesh, only our behavior is cannibalistic. And yet I am sure you will be equally disgusted, once you get to learn some of our habits: we have this thing here we call "war" where we pretty much set out to fight against each other for a bigger or a smaller cause. Sometimes we prefer not to kill people but instead to "torture" them - how shall I explain this? Imagine for example if someone was slowly pulling off your feathers... I know, I know you surely do not want to hear more about us. And what a shame really, I was about to start talking about our grand civilizations... We take great pride in them you must know.

I will let you now. Surely, you must be tired hearing all that we humans do - but this was my only way to contextualize your story and explain -in a simple way- why today you are only on stamps and postcards... More importantly, it is the debt I sense on my shoulders too, even though I do not hail from either Portugal or the Netherlands: learning from Julien that you did not have any predators until we, humans, came to Mauritius was enough to cause a sense of embarassment! If you still maintain any contacts down on earth, please let them know that they should be wary of humans... that is, if I am still allowed to offer a piece of advice..

Truthfully yours and very, very humbled,
a human being from Earth


For more information about the Dodo: Description of the Dodo Bird
Note: The picture that prefaces the letter is also part of the instructive website referenced above.

1 comment:

Elpidia García said...

Qué terrible información! Me hace sentir que la raza humana somos peor de lo creía. Desgraciadamente, antes de lo que imaginemos otros animales se unirán al Dodo en su extinción por el impacto de nuestros actos irresponsables(guerras, cambio climático, etc.)

Excelente y sensibe historia Anastasia. Siempre me reconforta leerte y saber que todavía existen personas que se preocupan por el mundo.

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