“Let him look up into the heavens and laugh in the bright air
Let the inchained soul, shut up in darkness and in sighing
Whose face has never seen a smile in thirty weary years
Rise and look out; his chains are loosed, his dungeon doors are open.”
William Blake and Van Morrison
The chimpanzees in the picture above are part of a group who were taken from their mothers shortly after birth, most over twenty years ago, and used by a pharmaceutical company as test subjects for HIV and Hepatitis They were released in 1997 after the company was sold, but it took another 14 years to re-acclimatize them after being shut up in close confinement since infancy.
The following is a translation of the German voice over on the video, according to Gizmodo.
They see for the first time in their lives, the sun. After decades in an experiment laboratory, this is the first step of the chimpanzees in to freedom.
They hugged each other, like they would say they were finally free. And then they laughed. One imagines being locked up for 30 years in an elevator, then to open the door with friends and say “I don’t believe it.” They have only seen people wearing protective clothing; they have never had regular contact. They never learned to climb, because they were brought to the laboratory as babies. Now they can finally get out.
Most of the former 38 monkeys have spent the entire lives behind bars. Since 2002, they are now in an Austrian village, slowing being prepared a life in freedom. This moment was for both animal and people equally unique.
I saw a chimpanzee, who was starring completely fascinated at a butterfly. He knew it, from back when he was a small chimpanzee in the jungle, and now he can see them again.
And the monkeys that were born in the laboratory are discovering everything for the first time. The air, the grass, the freedom.
They told me in Psychology 1 that the average chimp is as intelligent as a five year old child.
I don’t remember much of my high school German, but I remember that “Freiheit” means “Freedom”.
Be seeing you.
Other sources, The Sun