Of Whales and Blondes

That title reminds me a little of Steinbeck, but I assure you--I'm no John Steinbeck. My apologies to former Senator Lloyd Bentsen for paraphrasing him.

If you like jokes, I read this fantastic blonde joke at the Coalition of the Swilling. Give it a look if you're so inclined. It might remind you of the Red Button post from a few days back.

Here's a question that arises from the news story below. At what point does it become indefensible to interfere with others when making political protest?

As much as I approve of Greenpeace's mission, they often are overzealous and that zeal can put their own lives in danger as well as the lives of others. In the story below, placing their Zodiac in close proximity to the Japanese harpoon cannon was obviously dangerous and frankly more than a little stupid. The waters off of Antartica are International and the Japanese are legally able to hunt whales there.

Is the hunting of whales morally defensible? Probably not but some nations really need that whaling for economic reasons--though not Japan--so the laws aren't likely to change soon.

Changing those laws would be a better thing for Greenpeace to accomplish than foolhardy media events like the story below details. Of course Greenpeace does have numerous lawyers that are lobbying governments to do just that--but fund raising works better off of high profile actions like emperiling their own lives.

So, is what Greenpeace is doing right? And can these actions be generalized? Are political protestors who give up their lives, like those Chinese nonviolence protestors killed in Tiananmen Square in 1989, furthering their cause? And is that kind of sacrifice worth it? Closer to home is the example of Martin Luther King, Jr who was murdered in 1968. His death changed the Civil Rights Movement to a more violent and confrontational one and it also forced the nation to change its culture faster than it would have otherwise.

What would have happened if the multitude of martyred protestors over the years had lived? Hard to say--but an interesting question.

Japanese whaler harpoon in near-miss with protesters

Sun Jan 15, 10:28 AM ET: Reuters

A Japanese whaling harpoon narrowly missed an inflatable boat carrying environmental protesters, causing one to fall into the freezing sea, as both sides warn their face-off is becoming increasingly dangerous.

The Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise has been shadowing the Japanese whaling fleet for several weeks in an attempt to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt, prompting a heated exchange on January 8 when the Greenpeace ship and a Japanese ship collided.

In the latest incident on Saturday, the harpoon came within a meter of the inflatable boat as it tried to shield a minke whale, the environmental group said.

The harpoon's trailing line knocked one activist into the sea. He scrambled back aboard the boat without injury.

Greenpeace expedition leader Shane Rattenbury said the whalers were taking more risks to fill their catch in Antarctic waters south of Australia.

"There is definitely an increasing level of tensions down here and the harpooners are certainly starting to take shots that perhaps a week or two weeks ago they would not have taken," Rattenbury told Sky television.

"Yesterday took it to a new level -- we are very concerned about that," he said, adding the incident might force Greenpeace to review its tactics.

But Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo said it was Greenpeace that was taking more risks to remain in the media spotlight.

Institute chief Hiroshi Hatanaka said in a statement Greenpeace put its inflatable boat dangerously close to the bow of the whaling vessel when the harpooner fired.

"Our harpooner had a clear shot and took it. The strike was perfect and the whale was killed instantly," he said.

"The fact that the rope fell onto their inflatable and one of the activists fell into the water is entirely their fault. We are also concerned that they tried to cut the line because it makes it more dangerous for them."

Australia, a strong opponent of Japan's whaling program, has refused to intervene by sending navy ships to monitor the whaling and protests.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said last week Australia sympathized with the protesters, but said they had to make sure their protest was peaceful and did not endanger anyone.


Chrixean said…
Ok, i got suckered into that blonde joke a few days ago after 3 clicks on it...so I'm not falling for it again, hehe :P
Juggling Mother said…
Are they furthering their cause? Probably.

Are they right to do so? I guess that really is something only the individuals concerned could answer. I believe they have the right to endanger their own lives (like the Tianamen Sq. protester), but not to put others at risk. I worry about the greenpeace boat shenanigans because they do just that.
Michelle said…
When i think of Greenpeace, i think of Womens Lib and Civil liberties! All start out with an excellent cause, but somewhere along the way it all gets out of control!!
Oreo said…
Don't click the link for the blond joke!!!!! I like your new banner up in the corner BTW.
netchick said…
Hehe. I saw right through that blonde joke, Dave. You didn't get me... ;)

Glad to be home, and thanks for dropping by!
web_loafer said…
Our battle just finished, I won this time, but it could always go the other way. I have already added your blog to my blogroll....because I like your work, your blog. We ain't gonna agree on everything, or maybe not even much, but welcome to Sanity Bluff's Blog Roll, and if you see fit to add me...thanks
utenzi said…
...and he won handily too. Dammit. 10 to 5. I really need to make this blog prettier since I get smacked around to much at BE.

Sanity Bluff is a really good blog especially if you have conservative politics. As he insinuates above, our politics definitely diverge!

Tanya! Welcome back from Europe. It's great to know you're just 3000 miles away now. And Damn! I was so hoping the blonde joke would get you. You're as blonde as they come regarding hair, but I guess a crack programmer like you isn't going to be taken in my silly web tricks.
netchick said…
Heheh... It's so great to be back!!

And, really, the only reason why you didn't get me, was because I considered the source, and knew beforehand ;) LOL!
utenzi said…
Damn. I was really hoping to reel you in, Tanya. Another dream of mine bites the dust. Oh, and it's great to have you back though I suspect a little more time in the south of France wouldn't have hurt you any.
Carmi said…
That was some immensely frightening video. They're lucky no one was killed.

Makes me glad I don't eat whale.

OK, that was mean. Sorry.

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