People are still going bananas for Harambe

2 years ago Michael Willson Comments Off on People are still going bananas for Harambe

It seems that whenever I go on the internet, I always find something related to a particular gorilla. A particular gorilla named Harambe.

For those of you who do not know who Harambe was, he was a silverback gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. On Saturday, May 20, a child fell into the gorilla enclosure. After the child fell in, Harambe approached the child and proceeded to drag him throughout the enclosure. In a moment of desperation, zoo officials chose to shoot Harambe in order to get the child to safety.

Shortly after the incident occurred, people all over social media criticized the zoo for its decision. Some felt that Harambe was trying to protect the child. Others felt that the zoo should have used a tranquilizer. An online petition called, “Justice for Harambe” got over 500,000 signatures requesting that the zoo press charges against the family, which it chose not to. Some people even said that the child deserved to die for the mother’s negligence. Out of nowhere, this gorilla from the Cincinnati Zoo became a martyr. There was even a vigil for him held outside of the zoo’s entrance.

It’s been a little over four months now and people are still talking about Harambe. There are memes all over the internet. YouTube has changed the 3 Doors Down song, “Here Without You,” to “Here Without Harambe.” Conspiracies have been posted about Harambe’s death being ordered by the government. The Twitter account of the zoo’s director, Thane Maynard, was hacked, and the hacker posted childish comments about Harambe and using the gorilla as his profile picture. The whole thing is getting completely out of hand.

The memes have gotten so bad that Maynard spoke out against it to The Associated Press.

Val Miller | Marlin Chronicle
(Image: Val Miller | Marlin Chronicle)

“We are not amused by the memes, petitions and signs about Harambe,” Maynard said. “Our zoo family is still healing, and the constant mention of Harambe makes moving forward more difficult for us. We are honoring Harambe by redoubling our gorilla conservation efforts and encouraging others to join us,”.

First of all, let me start off by expressing my view on the incident. Could the zoo have built the enclosure in a way to better prevent children from getting in? Yes, absolutely. Could the mother have done a better job watching her child? Yes, but keep in mind she had three other kids with her. Regardless, that is not the main focus. Once the child was in the gorilla enclosure, the main focus on zoo officials’ minds, and what should have been the main focus on everyone’s mind, was getting him to safety. The life of a human child is always worth more than the life of a gorilla. The fact that anyone would think otherwise is just astounding. Yes, I understand that gorillas are endangered, but that’s still no excuse. To the people who said that he was trying to protect the child, he was not protecting him, he was dragging him. There’s footage of it and it’s actually quite terrifying. Harambe could have seriously injured that child. The child is lucky to have survived. We do not know what was going on in Harambe’s mind and we never will. All we know is that the child’s life was at risk. To those who feel that the zoo should have used a tranquilizer, a tranquilizer does not work instantly. It takes a few minutes for it to kick in. During that time, Harambe would have been startled and possibly would have gone on a rage. They needed to get the child out of there immediately and shooting Harambe was the best option.

Secondly, the whole internet obsession over Harambe is really starting to get old. It’s been over four months now. Give it a rest. Harambe is no longer a martyr, he is now a joke. The people who post about Harambe on social media do not actually care about him. They just know that posting about him will give them attention. I will admit that I have acted as a troll and posted my own thoughts on Harambe on Yik Yak. I posted that, “Harambe was just a gorilla,” and that, “Harambe was a damn dirty ape,” (making reference to the film, “Planet of the Apes”). Both of the yaks were down voted.

What happened to Harambe was sad, but the zoo made the right decision. The jokes were funny as first, but it is time to move on. Let’s cut it out for Harambe.

Michael Willson
mnwillson@vwc.edu