07 April 2010

Another Easter and another whale boat at the bottom of the harbour in Lofoten

I was very pleased to read in the Norwegian press today that not everyone was on holiday over Easter. Agenda 21 attempted to sink two whaling boats in Lofoten and were successful with one, the "Sophie", which was badly flooded in Svolvær Harbour. They did the same thing last Easter to the Skarbakk in Henningsvær and another one, two years previously. This is the seventh since 1992. Links to articles in Norwegian on NRK here and here. The second one says that the Police doubt whether Agenda 21 was behind it, but they don't have any other ideas who was.

The local Police are screaming "terrorism" and trying to pass on the responsibility for the case to a national level. The press and the pundits are up in arms and everyone is pissed off. I guess you can call that a pretty good result!

I know this is an emotive issue and I know that it might upset some of my Norwegian friends for me to celebrate this sinking. But my good friends also know that I feel very strongly about this. I don't accept the argument that whaling is critical to the economy of these communities. This is the richest country on the planet. There are plenty of better ways to make money that don't involve mindless slaughter. No this is an integral part of the national psyche that has been passed down through the generations. The image of a group of heroic guys, desperately trying to harpoon a whale from a rowing boat to feed a starving community - that's brave but its also a long way from the modern reality of a bunch of high school drop outs, with stupid moustaches, sitting on a diesel powered, steel ship, tracking with sonar and GPS before casually firing grenade tipped harpoons into defenceless marine mammals. Its pathetic. "Culture" is not an acceptable excuse for brutality. It wasn't with slavery and it isn't here.

Do I think sinking boats will stop the Whalers? - No, I don't. I think it will make them more entrenched. I do think it will increase their insurance premiums and I think it will remind them that the World thinks they are cretins, but I doubt if it will stop them.

So am I glad that the boat was sunk? - Absolutely for the simple reason that one less whaler means a few less whales get murdered this spring.

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