1. your observation, the validity of which I don't contest, seems to hint more at the suspiciousness of the well-doers than it does to the misguidedness of the cause (if alleviating hunger in Africa is no moot cause)
I am suspicious of politics of "cheap activism". By this I mean those who appear (very visibly) to be an activist but actually risk or lose nothing only than a bit of time. The price of joining a Facebook group called "I support the rights and freedoms of the oppressed people in X!" or posting a YouTube video about "the terrible human rights abuse in Y" is nil, and the benefits seem very few. Sure, there's a very small chance that you might raise enough consciousness to provoke a change in government policy. But there's also a much more immediate pleasure: a sense of self-satisfaction that one is doing good in the world. I'm worried that the latter is more important to some activists than the former.
Similarly, a forum post that incites debate, discussion and action is useful, but one must question the value of a poster who makes a provocative opening post but then shies away from debate. If you are really concerned about something, you should be concerned about appreciating, confronting, and answering the counter-arguments.
I also think it's interesting how Sarabi makes her points through a Romantic victimology: to read her post about me being a Chinese dictator physically abusing her for her political views, anyone would think that she is struggling for basic human rights in a developing country, not talking in an internet forum from the comfort of the world's richest economy which guarantees freedom of speech. What is the effect of metaphors like this, and what does it say about how she creates meaning and truth?
2. the mere comprehensibility of people's indifference -in this case to how their meat is procured- hardly entails its palatibility. To accept it in this case, simply because you can see where they're coming from, is to tolerate any act of cruelty (on humans or animals), provided you have sufficient imagination to understand why the perpetrator(s) did it.
I'm not sure this is true because I don't agree with "tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner." This is only the case if you are a determinist (you believe that circumstances totally
make people the way they are).
I'm not actually interested in pardoning people, and as I said above, I dislike the meat industry. However, I do think that if we're going to deal with this issue, we need an understanding of why people act the way they do. Simple behavioral models ("People go to McDonald's because it's cool") do not accurately illustrate human behavior and therefore they cannot be used to build reforms that aim to change human behavior.
And even if you wouldn't understand, why would that make you feel entitled to impose your sentiments on others, if you won't tolerate animal welfare advocates imposing theirs
Where am I trying to impose my sentiments, and where did I suggest that I don't tolerate the sentiments of others? This is a message board, where debate occurs. One argues here, one doesn't "impose". Anyone is free to write what they wish, and anyone else is free to challenge it. I am delighted when I get an interesting thread like this to respond to.
If some people want to write their views and have them unchallenged, they shouldn't use the platform of a message board to make their views. They should use a blog (preferably with comments switched off!) I don't blog because I don't believe that I have anything important enough to say that it shouldn't be challenged.