The Rumble
of Release


ht: 14"/36 cm

We used to have a highly patriotic dog, a most ferocious protector of our yard. She also possessed an uncanny sense of timing in that she wouldn't seem to notice an intruding cat until it was just about to exit through the fence. Then she would make a vicious charge at it, her snarling attack reaching the fence just as the intruder slipped away.

"There's more here than meets the eye," I thought, and my hunch was confirmed one day when an exiting cat, upon instigating the dog's charge, didn't carry on through the fence but instead stopped to watch. Suddenly the dog derailed the campaign and became totally engrossed in sniffing out some other, apparently greater evil lurking in the poplar trees.

I'm not sure who learned this behavior from whom, but I recognize it in my own species. It is very easy for us to condemn an evil system that history has already chased through the fence, such as South Africa's apartheid government. But when we are confronted with an equally horrifying oppression well inside the fence, such as China's systemic abuses of human rights, we strangely busy ourselves searching out "greater" enemies while we trade happily with the oppressors. How long will we tolerate such evils in our own yard? Until the Chinese peasants muster the incredible strength to rise up of their own accord and throw their government through the fence? Perhaps only then will we take after it with righteous indignation and loud barking.

Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has kept his casting of Rumble of Release in his private chapel for years. During his final years of his struggle against apartheid, according to his administrative assistant, he would light a candle before the sculpture every morning at his prayers.

Copyright © 2007 Holmes Studio