黒人の命は大事 - パスカルからのメッセージ Black Lives Matter – A Message from Pascal Rosier

東京ヴィーガンは人種差別に断固反対です。この度は私たちもBLM運動に賛同し、献身的なメンバーのPascal Rosierによるエッセイをここに掲載します。 自身の体験と想いを語ってくれた執筆者のPascal、ならびに翻訳者のKano Sekineに感謝します

At Tokyo Vegan, we stand against racism, and with the Black Lives Matter movement. As part of our commitment to Black Lives Matter, we would like to share this essay written for us by a member of our community Pascal Rosier. Thank you, Pascal, for sharing your experiences and thoughts. Translation by Kano Sekine.

“To my friends in Japan and all over the world, vegans, non-vegans, of any so-called races and colors (although races do not exist), all I am about to write are my own opinions, based out of my own experiences and reflections, but I am sure they also reflect what is happening inside many of us. The truth is, no matter the disparities, the cosmetic differences, we are all connected, races do not exist. It’s just perception. We all have much more in common than we have differences; that’s the truth.


I am vegan, and I am black. I don’t really like to define myself that way or in any other way. I think that as humans, we are much more than any verbal description or definition. Africa is prevalent in my ancestry, but my ancestors are also European, Indian, and Native Americans from the Caribbean. But I have to accept that many will perceive me in a certain way just because of my appearance, especially in the light of recent events. It is natural and human to do so.

私はヴィーガンで黒人です。本当はこんな風に、また他のどんな方法でも自分を定義するのは気が引けます。人間とは言葉で説明や定義ができる存在以上のものです。私のルーツは主としてアフリカですが、祖先にはヨーロッパ人、インド人、カリブ地域のネイティブアメリカンもいます。 しかし、最近の出来事の影響で、私の外見から多くの人が同じように私を見るので、それを受け入れる必要を感じています。 人がそうするのは自然で人間的なことではあるのですが。

Most recently and against my nature, I have found myself with anger, especially after I saw troubling images and videos on social media. I don’t understand violence. I never did, but today, I’ll try to refrain from anger. I was born in Germany from black, Afro-Caribbean parents, I’m black.  For some reason I never knew, I always cultivated a profound love for animals and nature. I was incapable of violence.  I still remember as a child, the pain that the death of an ant provoked on me, the tears and sadness.

 最近、特にソーシャルメディアで煩わしいイメージやビデオを見て、私の性格にそぐわず怒りを感じました。 暴力は理解できません。 今まで理解できたことはありませんが、今日は怒りを抑えます。 私はドイツ生まれで、両親は黒人のアフリカ系カリブ人です。私も黒人です。不思議と常に動物と自然への深い愛を持っていて、暴力が許せない子供でした。まだ小さかったころ、一匹のアリの死に遭遇し、それが私に引き起こした痛み、涙と悲しみを未だに覚えています。

Trier in Germany, where I was born, was once part of the Roman empire. My father would take me to the ancient Roman arena where I could see lizards and other creatures that fascinated me on the walls. He also would take me to the backyard of parks to see wild boars, deer, bears, and lynxes. Sometimes, I would bring animals back home, particularly those that were injured, a habit I took from my parents who once saved an owl whose wing had hit our car’s rear window during her flight.

私が生まれたドイツのトリーアはかつてローマ帝国の一部で、父は私を古代ローマの円形競技場によく連れ出しました。そこの壁にトカゲや他の生き物を見つけては魅了されました。 また、父と私はイノシシ、シカ、クマ、オオヤマネコなどを見るために公園の裏庭に行きました。 私は時々、怪我をした動物を家に連れ帰りました。あるとき両親が車のリアウィンドウに翼が当たってケガしたフクロウを救い、彼らから学んだ習慣です。

I later moved to another town, Freiburg, a city surrounded by the black forest. Most of the time, I would spend alone, wandering in the forest, observing wild creatures, and the magical change of seasons. Salamanders, hedgehogs, rabbits, birds of all sorts, insects, snails, snakes, and frogs were there. I would just look for them like a hunter would but without the intention of harming any of them.

のちに“黒い森”に囲まれたフライブルクという町に引っ越しました。 ほとんどの時間を一人で過ごし、森の中をさまよって野生生物や、魔法のような季節の変化を観察しました。 サンショウウオ、ハリネズミ、ウサギ、あらゆる種類の鳥、虫、カタツムリ、ヘビ、カエルがいて、私はハンターのように生物を探しましたが、傷つけることはありませんでした。

I once saved a baby crow who had fallen on the ground from its nest. I knew she was destined to die without her parents. I took her and gave her shelter. She did not know yet how to fly so I trained her. I fed her. She would start to crow loudly at my house at the sound of my school bus. Once I would enter my room, she would stop crowing. As I was giving her the food I would prepare hastily, she would widely open and flap her wings joyfully. After the summer and many crashes from the window of my room on the second floor, she flew away and never came back. She did not thank me; she did not need to because her very presence in my life was a blessing, I was to thank her. I rescued other animals so much that I could have opened a shelter, but the goal for me was mostly to have their presence near me, their reassuring and peaceful presence.


As I grew up, I would understand, the human world was not as gentle as nature and one single factor would be the driver of my life, the color of my skin. I was raised in love. But before I even remembered, I would start to experience the natural ability of humans to offend, assault, verbally, or physically, people who were different. German children were the most aggressive and violent. For me and my brother as a kid, going to a German kindergarten was practically equal to going to hell. German kids would systematically target me and my brother by pulling our hair, hitting us, kicking us, or trying to scratch our skin. Where did this vehemence come from, their parents? Many times in Germany, children would stop their bikes to insult us, “dirty niggers” and all sorts of equivalents. One day at a park, two children almost killed me by pushing me in a frozen lake, the thin ice broke, I fell under the ice but was saved by a man passing by. My mother went to their mother, but instead of scolding her kids, she insulted my mother. One day at the swimming pool in Germany, a boy started to punch me in the face with his father behind him. His father was teaching him to hurt a black child, just like a father would teach his son how to hunt. I could not respond. I was inherently non-violent. I knew not force.


I went to a French school in Germany. I don’t remember everything clearly. I know we were still targeted by other children, and the color of my skin would always be a subject of attention. I would also run after children who were ganging up to kick my little brother. As soon as they saw me approaching, they would disperse like a pack of roaches. I was happy because I was defending my brothers. However, I wasn’t a strong kid, I did not even like sports. A few times, I stumbled upon a kid much older, and stronger than me. Twice, they sent me to the hospital.

As a black kid, there were more reasons to chase me, to try to hurt me, because I was black. So I had to learn, to become stronger physically, and I would.

そののち、フランス系の学校に通いました。すべてをはっきり覚えていませんが、私たちはまだ他の子供たちの標的にされていて、肌の色は常に注目の的でした。 私は弟を蹴ろうと団結していた子供たちを追い散らしました。 彼らは私が近づいているのを見るとすぐにゴキブリの群れのように分散しました。 兄弟を守れて嬉しかったですが、私は強い子供ではなく、スポーツさえ好きではありませんでした。私よりずっと年上で強い子供たちに何度か遭遇し、私は2度、病院送りにされました。黒人ゆえ、追いかけられたり傷つけられたりする理由は他にもあったため、私は学び、肉体的に強くなる必要を感じて励みました。

There are too many stories for me to tell everything here, maybe I can save them for a book. Returning to my story, things would not improve as I got older. I would see my loved ones or other people like me insulted or belittled,. I saw skinheads, neo-nazis, and young lost people who chose hate as a solution for their frustration. I saw black friends beaten up like shit in front of my eyes for defending themselves without being able to do anything against it. “Nigger! You’re a Nigger!” would yell the big kid while destroying my comrade before they were separated by a soldier walking his dog.

ここですべての出来事を伝えきることはできませんので、いつか本にでも書きます。さて、私が成長しても物事は改善されませんでした。愛する人や私と同じ立場の人々が、侮辱され軽蔑されるのを見続けてきました。人種至上主義者のスキンヘッド、ネオナチ、欲求不満の解決策として人を憎む堕落した若者たちを目にしてきました。黒人の友が自分自身を守ろうとしたために、何もできず畜生のように殴られていました。その体ばかり大きな奴は、私の友を滅多打ちにし、「ニガー! お前はニガーだ」と怒鳴っていました。暴行は犬を伴った兵士が2人を引き離すまで続きました。

I remember teachers at school telling me racist jokes and saying other racist things to me, things making it look like I was slower or a cheater, belittling me for no reason. If I remembered their name and I knew where they were, I would send them a letter to remind them of the jokes. I don’t have the time and energy right now, though. However, I would tell them they should be ashamed, ashamed to be called teachers…


I loved to learn. My parents never forced me to do my homework. I loved poetry and I would spend time alone, writing simple and bad lines. I still have good memories of my school days. I also have memories of terror when my black body was threatened, when I had to run because I was black.


Later on, I would enter the race of the adult society, where all I had experienced as a child would materialize into a much more powerful system. I would learn that I was not alone, but surrounded by denial. Most blacks I knew would fail, unable to accomplish their innate dreams, kings and queens giving up on gifts in order to live a life of survival without sense of purpose, a life of threats, harassment, surveillance, and fear.


Not a school, not a university, not a public office, not a company, no place has been and would be safe to me. The only safe place I had experienced in my life was the short amount of time I stayed home in the Caribbean, surrounded by people like me. And for the first time in my life, I felt a strong sense of peace and kindness. Not to say the Caribbean has no history of violence and racial hate, quite the contrary, but as a child and as a young adult, it was nothing, nothing compared to the aggressiveness that I had encountered up to then. Nevertheless, my own people at Home in the Caribbean saw me as a stranger, they were not ready to accept me because I was different, even if I knew the codes and the language. They did not understand why I would never want to leave, they were fascinated by Europe and the old continent.


Fast forward, and the day came when I was able to accomplish my dream, to live in Japan. Unfortunately, in 2001, I would fall prey to a group of six young Japanese gangsters in Tokyo. They would beat me with the intention to kill me. I remember their insults in Japanese and broken English, “nigger!” They were hurting a black man. They wanted to kill a black man. For them, I was a symbol. I was not lucky. But I lived. I escaped and went to the Japanese police. The police treated me with suspicion, and they dismissed me. I had teeth broken, bones were bruised and my face was swollen. They tried to kill me; they would not stop. I had to escape like prey. I was prey, hunted. I understood at that moment the psychology of a hunted animal.  As a child, I had escaped racist mobs a few times. It remained with me, the friends I saw getting beaten up in front of my eyes or the face of my cousin after skinheads caught him on his bike in the streets of Strassburg. They were mobsters. How old are they now? Where are they now? I would want to know about their beautiful lives of struggle. Everybody is a star.

さらに時は進み、日本に住む夢は達成できました。しかし不幸にも、私は2001年に東京で6人の若い暴力団の餌食になったのです。彼らは私を殺すつもりで打ち負かしたのでしょう。日本語と片言の英語での侮辱が耳に残っています。「ニガー!」 黒人を傷つけ、黒人を殺したかったのです。私はシンボルにすぎませんでした。実に運が悪かったけれど、それでも生きていました。現場から逃れて警察にたどり着くと、警官は私を疑い、帰されました。歯が折れ、骨が打たれ、顔が腫れていました。奴らは私を殺そうとした。奴らはやめなかった。私は獲物のように逃げなければならなかった。私は獲物だった、狩られた。その瞬間、狩られた動物の心理を理解しました。 子供の頃、人種差別的な暴徒から何度も逃れました。目の前で殴られた友人や、ストラスブールの通りでスキンヘッドに自転車を止められ、捕まえられたいとこの顔が脳裏に浮かびました。彼ら暴徒は今何歳でどこにいるのか。彼らの苦悩の人生について知りたい。誰もが意味ある特別な存在です。

And yet, I felt no hate. The fear…, I did feel, for a few weeks. I would not want to go out and talk to anyone. I would just get along with life. Hear more insults, more nonsense, more hate, but I would also keep a heart filled with love, and appreciate my life.


One day I learned my youngest brother was dead and that was it. I lost the intention to live. In retrospect, I know why; he lived the life I lived, he was sensitive, he did not make it. Sometimes, I was wondering if I would make it. I loved him. He knew what I knew. He knew I knew, I knew he did. Black bodies die. In the past, hanging on trees for insubordination. My brother died too, other brothers live, with the scars. We all have scars. It’s the scars that make us human too; they help us understand more, grow, evolve, and love. Do we need the scars at all? I don’t know.


When my brother died, my mother saved me. She forced me to come back to life, to stand up and live the life of a man. I was alone but a few friends would do everything to help me. I came back to Japan, thanks to a Japanese friend and my brother who gave me hope. We lived together. His mother would talk to me and give me strength, too. That is why I owe so much to Japan and Japanese people. Japan is the place that helped me to go back to life again.


It’s in Japan that I would become whole again and reconcile my original self, my core with my daily life. Pushed to the edge, I would look for peace and  I reached the understanding that animals experience the same discriminations my people and I experience because we’re black, the understanding that sentience, the pain of suffering, is something we share with all the animals and that in this sense, the killing and exploitation of animals are unjust and the mark of a highly unequal society.


Less than 100 years ago, my ancestors were still treated as slaves, even if slavery was abolished. I remember the stories of my great grandmother who experienced the remnants of slavery. She was black and beautiful. She was powerful. Like most of my ancestors, they feared the white man. I am the first generation of blacks who grew up in the white, European world.


Slavery was not taught at school. I remember it took 10 minutes for my history teacher to pass on the subject. Those 10 minutes were intense, they were the only 10 minutes of my history. I remember them clearly. Some people in my class looked at me. I was embarrassed. My ancestors were packed on slave ships, sold, traded, men and women selected for breeding, mothers separated from children, children abused, women raped at will, sometimes disposed of, killed, the same fate animals face nowadays. I realize slavery used to be accepted by almost everyone. It was normal; it was necessary. I remember an English language teacher who once said in our class that slavery happened because blacks used to sell blacks and that slavery saved them from obscurity. I remember her words, vaguely her face; she was not full of hate. She was just ignorant of the image of our world.


I lived my life in denial, pressed by the priority of survival. The brain has this powerful capacity to remove what hinders progress, evolution to allow a life of normality. Creatures of the universe evolve through pain and suffering, they develop protective features against threats, the buffalo, the elephant, the mosquito, the cactus, the octopus, humans. We only become smarter, stronger, fit for survival.


I know love. We are capable of beauty as much as destruction. However, it is easier to destroy than to create. Disasters destroy faster than nature regenerates itself.


In the light of recent events, I have spoken with a few friends of mine, Black, and know that the death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, or Rayshard Brook took another psychological toll on many of us. My heart rioted when I saw people trying to belittle George Floyd because of his history. He was not perfect but did he deserve to die the way he did? Some people believe so. They also are victims of the powerful racist system they entertain. Systematically, when a black man dies, the world will look for justifications for his death. It happened with Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, all of them. Some people said Rayshard Brook died because he was drunk and resisting the police when videos clearly show what a gentle man he was.


The same can be said of people trying to gaslight the Black Lives Matter movement with the “All lives matter” anthem. They have integrated the roots of racism as I did in a way, but their mind is conditioned to entertain the power of oppression. Ignorance prevails.

「All lives matter(すべての命が大切)」の賛歌で、Black Lives Matter(黒人の命も大切)運動をおかしいと思わせようとする人々にも同じことが当てはまります。彼らは私のように、人種のルーツに総合的な見方を持っていますが、彼らの心理は迫害の念を抱くよう条件づけられているのです。結局、無知がはびこっています。

At the same time, I feel this is a moment of reckoning. I was amazed to see people who aren’t black schooling other people on their ignorance. I saw people who aren’t black fight for us, for the first time in my life. People who would raise their voice with a vehemence I would never dream to have, conditioned to be docile, like a docile cow fit for slaughter thanks to her docility. For the first time, I have seen many of my black brothers ready to reject discrimination at all levels and protect themselves, their loved ones. More than ever before, I recognize the symptoms and manifestations of racism and discrimination.


I know there will be resistance against us. And when I say us, I mean US humans who dare to face ignorance. I know there is a current of destruction, of brutality, that is protected by people who either benefit from such a system or grew up knowing nothing else. They hold guns in front of BLM peaceful protectors; they want to hunt and kill animals.


What happens at the moment is not about race. We already know all lives matter. That is why many of us are vegan because we value all lives. I know many people who say all lives matter are not racist, but using now can be hurtful for people who are trying to get their voices heard. At the same time, I don’t want to blame people who say that all lives matter because it’s true. But we just need to be mindful of the timing of saying and also why we’re saying it. Unfortunately, I have seen many people saying it in a reactive or defensive way. They are missing the point. Black Lives Matter is about oppression, not about having one so-called race favored over another.

今起きている事態は、人種にまつわることではありません。私たちはすべての命が重要であることをすでに理解しています。私たちの多くがヴィーガンなのは、すべての命が大切だからです。「すべての命が大切」と叫んでいる人のうち大部分は人種差別主義者ではないでしょう。しかしながら、今そう叫ぶことで、何とか声を出そうとしている人を傷つける可能性があります。また、すべての人生が重要というのは真実なので、私はそう言う人々を責めたくありません。しかし、それを言うタイミングと、なぜ言っているのかを念頭に置く必要があります。あいにく、多くの人々が反射的または自己防衛的にそう言っています。彼らは要点を逃しています。Black Lives Matterは抑圧への抵抗であって、1つの“人種”を別の“人種”より優先しようとしているのではありません。

My wish, and where I want my mind to direct its energy, is that as societies, more and more come to the realization that oppression applies to all of us. We are all victims of one form of oppression or another. The same is happening in the way we treat the animal world. Billions of land and sea animals are exploited, killed, and slaughtered to satisfy our demand, not our needs. This is accepted as a necessity just as the slave trade used to be once accepted by a vast majority of people.


What is happening is confusing, but I also know that after confusion comes clarity. I can already see more clearly, I can see the manifestations of racism and discrimination with more acuteness. And I also feel more empowered to denounce it where it is.


As an adult, I can’t remember how many fights I stopped in the streets, on the train, from London to Paris, Germany, and Tokyo. I have this natural impulse to stop the violence between fellow humans, or when it is directed at animals. I want to bear no grudge, no hate against anyone, but my mission is to protect, to defend, especially what is most precious and vulnerable in this world, this is my core.


In the end, races do not exist. We are not just bodies, or brains. So who are we? Who am I? I am that which is writing and listening to these words right now. I am consciousness. I am you and all that exists. I have the ability to perceive and sense. Sensing and perceiving are knowing. I have the ability to know. That’s what consciousness is; that is who we are, what we all share, and what makes us ONE.

つまるところ、人種は存在しません。私たちは単なる体や脳ではありません。では、私たちは何なのでしょう? 私とは何?私は今、言葉を綴って聞いている存在です。私は意識なのです。私はあなたであり、存在するすべてです。私は知覚し、感じる能力を持っています。感じて受け取ることで知ることができます。私には知る能力があります。それが意識です。それが私たちそのもの、私たち全員が共有するものであり、私たちを一つにするものです。

I want the end of racism and discrimination and I want the end of animal exploitation. I wish to continue to fight for the voiceless.


Peace to you, to all beings on the universe, to all of you who exist, even the haters, people, love, and unity.”


CREDITS: I would like to thank Nadia McKechnie and the Tokyo Vegan Meet-up group for the opportunity to express myself. I also would like to thank Colin Hueston, Ph.D. for proofreading and edits. (Follow him for inspiration at Kingdom style on Facebook) Feel free to reach me on Instagram @iampascalrosier @makaroots or @samuraivegan

謝辞: 掲載の機会をくれたナディア・マケックニーと東京ヴィーガンミートアップグループに感謝します。校正と編集のコリン・ヒューストン博士にも多大な感謝を表します。(フェイスブックのKingdom Styleで彼をフォローしインスピレーションを得てください。) 私へのご連絡はインスタグラム@iampascalrosier、 @makaroots、@samuraiveganまでお願いいたします”。

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