Friday, June 25, 2010

Day Five: The Inquisition Grins on Black Friday

Report by Laurens De Groot

Agadir, Morocco-- For a moment today, I didn’t know what was worse: being on a vessel that was rammed and sunk by a Japanese harpoon ship, or having to listen to all the crap coming out of the meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). While the NGO’s danced like court jesters around the delegations pleading for mercy for the whales, the delegates grinned evilly, ignored the outcry, and signed the death treaty for nine endangered humpbacks and ten endangered fin whales.  Greenland (Denmark) wanted blood, and blood it was.

Earlier this day, it looked as if South America and Australia were going to block he consensus forcing the commission to vote, but in the end they didn’t. A consensus means they all choose for blood on their hands, each and every one of them. The whales are just numbers and nineteen seemed acceptable. I honestly wonder if any of these delegates have ever seen a whale. During my encounters with various whale species graciously swimming through the oceans, I saw sentient beings, mammals of pure beauty that we should be thankful for to share the planet with. But the cavemen in suits disagree. And these people call themselves civilized? In my opinion civilized means being compassionate human beings with devotion to cherish life on Earth, not to destroy it.

Yesterday, Iceland’s delegate Kristjan Loftsson called whales “just another fish.” Today, he walked out, put on a cynical smile, and pointed out that there were only a few of us raising a voice for the whales. As you can only think in numbers Mr. Loftsson, here is one statistic: it took only two people to sink half of Iceland’s whaling fleet back in 1986. More than ever, I would love to see this happen again. So never underestimate the numbers, Mr. Loftsson. While there were only a few of us in Morocco, more and more people are becoming aware of what is happening to the oceans and its inhabitants.  This is not a group driven by greed and power. It’s a group of individuals who believe they can all make change. It’s a group driven by passion. And this group of people is undefeatable. It’s a movement willing to step up against corrupt governments and poachers. Individuals willing to do whatever it takes to protect the planet from people like you.

The IWC meeting has come to an end. The minions of great darkness have had their week of pleasure. Nothing is achieved and whales will still be killed. While the delegates decide where they’ll travel business class to next year, we walk away more dedicated than ever before. Sea Shepherd will set sail to the Southern Whale Sanctuary to stop illegal Japanese whaling no matter what. And of course the corrupt IWC will condemn us and they’ll keep banning us from the meetings. But today I walk away smiling; I’ve never been more proud to be part of the most dedicated group of outlaws.


A special thanks goes to the people of Morocco (including the Security staff) who have been friendly and very helpful. Also a big thanks to Howie Cooke (Surfers for Cetaceans), Arne Feuerhahn and Christine Bindal (Sea Shepherd crewmembers), Natalie Fox, Nori Neumann and October for rocking up and making a voice for the whales. Next year we hope to see all of you who read this ;-).