Cecil the lion is dead. But, the least we can say, Cecil is more than alive in all the conversations around the world, in all the social media platforms or in all the headlines of the biggest TV channels. Cecil is still much alive in the certainly bruised conscience of Walter Palmer, his hunter. Not so much because of the regret of an hectic and absurd hunt but more because this guy vanished all his possibilities to retrieve his normal life, his dentist satisfied clientele and his self-esteem as a citizen of this world as he is hated by half of the planet (if not more).
We have to understand certain things about this whole development. And the first things I would like to highlight are the terrible series of events that happened while we were focusing on this poacher pathetic and dramatic story: a Palestinian baby was burnt in a name of a God, a swarm of migrants in Calais (France) are trying anything to reach UK at the peril of their lives, Boko Haram continues to kill hundreds of people, a ISIS raid in Kobane made 200 innocent victims and we don’t even mention the other military moves that are making Middle East a definite time bomb…and finally, we may have Donald Trump as the next President of the United States.
So why Cecil the Lion became the subject of the moment? That’s quite simple. The power of storytelling. Let’s list the cast to make sure we have everybody in place (if somebody is missing, please make a call to the executive producer):
– Cecil the Lion – the magnificent, the hero, the icon. To give a name to an animal is already a fantastic foundation for a great story. We know everything about him (age, specifics, lifestyle…). And we totally relate to him. Cecil is a name to enter history. Cecil is the center of all our attention.
– Walter Palmer – the evil, the enemy, the guilty. He was supposed to be Spanish, he became an American dentist. Damn it, everybody hates dentists by the way. And he is an experienced hunter, from the childhood almost. A clear role is created, all based on his passion to annihilate life of innocent animals, with a simple bow. A cave man if you prefer.
– Jericho, the brother/friend/successor – he was dead for a couple of hours but he is finally OK. He was supposed to kill all the family but he will have mercy for the weak. He is the side-kick, he is the new authority. Nature is taking over. Jericho is the hope of better days. We will need a happy end, don’t you forget.
– Hunt. Bringing Cecil out of the safe zone – the plan, the process, the techniques are horrible. We can imagine the terrible preparation to have him dead. The beautiful lion brought to danger, brought to a place where he could not survive. Everything was prepared for the massacre to happen.
– Mea Culpa – how to believe a guy (the dentist, well, you know) that uses crisis communication so badly. Instead of showing a bit of compassion, he started to defend himself, that he was in its right, that nobody told him. Well, nobody told him not to be a jackass, that’s for sure…
– Collateral Damage – NYC is projecting endangered species on its towers, US government is starting a manhunt to punish the poachers (this practise exists since ever), the Zimbabwe government says that they lost an iconic persona of their wildlife eco-system (actually if you dig in the papers, nobody cares much over there). But the most impressive is the resurgence of all the photos of hunters, poachers, slaughtered animals that never have been shown before on social media. People are pointing the names and the Facebook pages of these hunters/poachers and their ignominy. I’m sure we will see much more as the story develops.
– Celebrities – Alyssa, Brigitte, Cara and many others just got crazy about it and totally raised the awareness and the excitement on the situation. Jimmy Kimmel even delivered a moving speech again this barbarian dentist from Minneapolis. Who was the real celeb? Cecil or the hundreds of celebs looking for a sharp Tweet at the right time.
And I’m sure the story is not over. And it shows the power of a great story. Don’t get me wrong. I find this Walter guy despicable and I totally blame his acts. Cecil the Lion did not deserve to die. But the story that was built around is certainly reworked by Hollywood at the moment you read these lines. The Lion King II.