Every year at this time, one person comes to mind more than any other, besides family. It's Dian Fossey. I've been an admirer of her's for a long time! I mean LONG!! Ever since "Gorillas in the Mist" came out in the theaters. I was just a teenager then, but she was fascinating!! Funny I never even thought about mountain gorillas until I saw that movie. Back then, I was more into other types of animals, like lemurs and mongooses. Gorillas never even crossed my mind. The gorillas are sweet, but Dian Fossey really fascinates me. She and I have a lot in common. She grew up not liking people either, for the same reason as me. She had too many bad experiences with people to like them. If only she'd been here during the internet age, I can imagine what she'd think of people now. Too many people on the internet shit-talk each other.
Anyway, Dian Fossey has always been such a big inspiration in my life, one has to admire a woman who died fighting for what she believed in. Sometimes I think that is how I am going to end up. One of the biggest misconceptions though is that she died defending the gorillas, and it has recently been discovered that that is not completely true. Though it was a part of why she was targeted for assassination, the real reason most people wanted her dead was because she was trying to stop the gold trade in the Virungas. It was learned that a member of the Rwandan government was actually the guy who killed her, he went to her house to retrieve gold that Dian confiscated from some smugglers. Gold to the Rwandans is like narcotics are to us. It's worth so much to them that they actually kill for it. But apparently it's illegal there to smuggle, so Dian tried to stop the smuggling of gold by having the smugglers arrested and confiscating the gold herself. The man who killed her (his name escapes me at the moment, but it was an African name) admitted it was not his original intent to kill her when he broke into her house, he actually went there unarmed, thinking she was not home. He actually used a woodcutter's knife that was hanging on Dian's wall as a decoration. But still, even if the sole purpose for her demise was not due to the gorillas, not all of it anyway, she did die fighting for what she believed in, and that is admirable.
This is why on the anniversary of her death each year I give to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, or DFGF. No other person has influenced me so much either directly or indirectly, outside the family. Family always comes first. But I've known about Dian Fossey and studied her so extensively for so long she almost feels like family to me! LOL! Or at least an old friend. I never actually met her though, she didn't like coming to the west coast. She had such a deep, dark resentment for her ma that she preferred to stay away from this part of the country. Her ma married a man when Dian was about 5 years old that was the kind of person that believed children should be completely separate from adults. A total jerk in other words. So, she and her ma never really bonded. But Dian should not have been too upset, she made something of her life. And to the gorillas, she is the ultimate hero!! She deserves to be remembered in a special way. She was a special person. I celebrate her life every year, it's become as much a part of this holiday season to me as Christmas and New Years are.
Speaking of Christmas and it's traditions, look at one of the uses being discovered for that leftover misteltoe! It can be used to prolong the lives of cancer patients. I read about it in this article: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/12/24/mistletoe-cancer.html. And eat as many of those candy canes as you can! It's great for regulating your system and fighting germs: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/12/24/candy-canes-germs.html.