Remembering Harambe

QUEZON City, Philippines (September 5)  – The Harambe meme recently went viral, proving that the netizens are still not at peace with the incident that happened earlier this year. May 28, 2016 to be exact. On that day, a zoo worker shot and killed Harambe, a 17-year old Western lowland gorilla, when it grabbed and pulled a three-year old boy who entered the gorilla enclosure in the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

The act sparked a massive reaction in the internet.  People blamed the zoo’s caretakers because of their immediate response of shooting Harambe with a gun.

The consequence of this act left a never-ending word war in the social media. Massive numbers of netizens reacting lead to the birth of the viral Harambe meme.

The meme seems to have taken a life of its own, going beyond the Cincinnati Zoo incident, with tasteless jokes being made about race. The anger unleashed overshadowed one important fact.

And that is the tragic death of Harambe himself.

Instead of becoming a kind of positive social initiative that might have given rise to more positive approaches when it comes to zoo-keeping, the meme became a forum for anger, for liberal, animal-loving netizens to rage against those who put more value on human life than on animals.

The argument has become very toxic, surely there are a lot of better and more dignified ways of remembering Harambe.

(written by Leslie Monica Mendoza, edited by Jay Paul Carlos, additional research by Vince Alvin Villarin)