And So We Wage War on Them
Original title: Ainsi nous leur faisons la guerre
For Joesph Andras, literature is necessarily linked to the political field. His writing in no way sacrifices form for the sake of his ideas, it is, in fact, animated with a classic eloquence which contrasts with the heat of poetic desires […] The mocking tone accompanying these three disgraceful acts questions as brutally our relationships with the individuals around us, and calls for a unification of battles (animal, social and feminist) in which every voice counts. – Lire Magazine Littéraire
In ‘The Way We Wage War on Them’ (split into three sections with a dog in London, a monkey in Riverside and a cow in Charleville-Mézières and across diverse time periods), Joseph Andras questions the scheme of the domination of the human race over the animal one with a certain irony. Resistance does not equal lack of humour. – LH Le Magazine
In February 1903 on the stage of a University College London lecture hall, a professor is performing an experiment on a dog that is bound and muzzled and whose stomach and neck have been opened up to reveal its nerves and glands. Two women in the audience are moved enough to complain to the secretary of the National Anti-Vivisection Society and they later recount this barbarous act in a book that creates quite a stir. The affair divides opinion in Britain for many years.
In 1985 in a Californian university laboratory, a baby stump-tailed macaque is blinded ‘in the name of science’ and more specifically for the purposes of research into sonar. A rescue operation mounted by the Animal Liberation Front (soon to be declared a terrorist organisation) frees the primate and 467 of his fellow guinea pigs from the campus and causes $700,000 worth of damage.
In Charleville-Mézières in 2014, the back door of a cattle trailer accidentally flies open on a busy three-lane road and a Limousin cow and her calf bolt up the road against the direction of the traffic. The calf is quickly caught but the mother continues to career up the highway, causing absolute chaos.
In this triptych, Joseph Andras brings a hitherto untapped talent for playful irony to bear on the absurd cruelty of our age-old relationship with the rest of the living world. In this fresco of a century encompassing animal, social and feminist causes, the examples cited of human-animal relations in the industrial era lay bare – with forthrightness but genuine empathy – the subjugation of living beings endowed with feelings to other beings endowed not just with feelings but also a cold and powerful rationality.