October 14, 2010
Report from Taiji: October 14
My daughter and I have been receiving a number of comments stating that we have no business, especially as foreigners, to tell Japanese what to do. I could not agree more if we were talking about things that only impact the Japanese. For example, we would never presume to tell anyone, including Japanese, how to dress; what kind of music to enjoy; what religion to practice; or who to marry. Issues like human rights; however, fall into the category that impacts all of humanity and citizens of Earth should intervene when other communities violate human rights. We see the dolphin and whale slaughter in the same vein. The killing of dolphins and whales impacts all of humanity. These creatures do not belong to Japan or any other country. They are wild and freely roam the world’s oceans. For one country or a small group within a country to unilaterally decide to kill these creatures is an insult to all of humanity. Just because it has been done for a long time does not make it a good thing and gives it no protection. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it. Japan is a world leader in many good things, but almost the entire world condemns the killing of whales and dolphins. Whales and dolphins belong to the planet and not to any human or group of humans.
Likewise, the oceans are part of the whole planet. A dead ocean will mean the end to all life on this planet. Each of us, no matter our nationality or race, has a responsibility to protect the oceans and protect life for all. This is not racist. This is survival.
The one(s) that got away and too busy or too ashamed?
This morning was October 14, 2010, in Japan. Being on this side of the International Date Line means that by the time our day has ended here, folks back home on the west coast of the United States are just waking up to the day. October 14 was/is also the International Day of Protest. Because of this fact, there were many news media crews at the cove this morning when we began our day.
We found, as expected, that the dolphin hunters had set out early this morning. We were surprised to find that one of the twelve boats had stayed behind from the hunt. We watched the sea to learn what this day would bring. Either the hunters would return driving dolphins before them and corral them into the cove, or they would return empty handed. We, of course, always hope and pray that they return empty.
Yesterday, while half of the dolphin hunters/slayers were busy killing, gutting, and butchering dolphins the other half had taken six boats out to find more dolphins. We were able to watch them far out on the sea and watched them find and then lose, find again, and lose again a group of dolphins. Today, the same thing happened, but much closer to shore. It was a shock to see all eleven boats appear arranged in long arc at the headland approach to Taiji. Clearly they had found and chased a pod of dolphins a long way. Back and forth they went, but in the end, the dolphins eluded them and disappeared back out to sea. The boats returned to port, thus making it a good day in Taiji.
Fortunately on this October 14 in Taiji, there are no dolphins in peril. Tomorrow morning will be October 15 in Taiji and still be the day of protest in other parts of the world. We will have to see what the morning brings.
Following our vigil at the cove, we decided that this being the International Day of Protest, it would be a good day to meet with the Mayor of Taiji to discuss these issues and to see the honorary wall to Taiji’s sister city, Broome Australia. We went on down to city hall in Taiji and found that several members of the media followed us there. The workers in the hall were quite surprised to look up and see Sea Shepherd in their midst in the accompany of numerous cameras and journalists. I asked to speak with the Mayor. Eventually, a representative appeared who told me I had to leave. This is a public building and I had to leave. Another man placed a hand on my side and I very quickly made sure that he understood that I would not tolerate being assaulted.
I repeated my request to speak with the Mayor and was again told to leave. I then said that I wanted to see the honorary wall for Broome, Australia. The man told me there was no such thing and again told me I had to leave. I was shocked. I asked again in case he had not understood me and again he made it very clear to me that there was no such thing in Taiji. I wonder if the citizens of Broome know that the officials in Taiji deny having a relationship with Broome.
We found ourselves standing on the steps in front of Taiji City Hall with lots of cameras facing our way. I spoke about the how the Mayor either was too busy or too ashamed to talk with us on this day when the world is focused on his town. It seemed poor stewardship on his part.
At noon, representatives from Save Japan Dolphins honored the lost lives of countless dolphins by offering roses to the water of the cove. The police said it was pollution and that the roses had to be removed. I commented on how odd it is that it is lawful to pour the blood, hearts, and lungs of dolphins into the water, but it is unlawful to place flowers there. Something is wrong with this equation.
Sea Shepherd offered rice and Sake in an effort to atone for the sins of the fishermen.
There will be video available of today’s events on my daughter’s YouTube account. You can access that from the link to her blog below.
Our day is not yet done, as we will be participating in a press conference at 10:00 am, via Skype, in Atlanta, GA USA.
You can help. Got to your local Japanese embassy or consulate today at noon! Spread the word, send donations, join in the Worldwide Anti-Whaling Day on November 5, avoid all travel to Japan except to become a Cove Guardian with us here in Taiji, and ensure that you do everything you can to keep the pressure on the Japanese authorities. It is unfortunate that the reputation of an entire nation is being tarnished by the evil and shameful deeds of a handful of men in Taiji. To join us (voluntarily, and completely at your own cost and risk) in Taiji, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will get back to you, but please be patient. I cannot keep an eye on the Cove and answer email at the same time.
For the Oceans,
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
The Blog Log:
My daughter, Elora Malama, has been with me here since day one and keeps a blog of her experiences.
Current Cove Guardians John and Jackie Legg have a blog about their experience here.
Future Cove Guardians Tarah and Carolyn have started blogs about their endeavors.
The Taiji Dolphin Action Group blog.