by Captain Paul Watson
One of the most irritating things about the Taiji campaign in Japan is the infighting amongst individuals and organization involved.
We received a few messages and calls this past week rudely demanding why Sea Shepherd is not in Taiji, Japan?
“Other groups are there, where the hell are you?”
Or “Why have you abandoned the dolphins?”
One group that has been telling us to get out of Taiji for years because we are in their opinion, counter productive called to criticize Sea Shepherd for not being there implying that we have quit the Taiji campign or at least that is what some people want others to believe.
One person called our office to say we had no right to post Blue Cove and Red Cove Day banners. “You’re stealing our ideas and taking credit for what our group is doing?” The very irate caller said, stating we had no right to post these banners.
Very strange since neither Sea Shepherd nor I post these Blue and Red Days banners but many of our supporters do and it has been my belief that the people who created the Blue and Red Day Banners would want them posted by everyone. I do admit I have no idea who created the concept and I don’t really care. If people around the world wish to post these banners, it it their right to do so unless someone, somewhere wishes to invoke a copy right.
To be blunt, Sea Shepherd has not abandoned the dolphins at Taiji. And to be even more blunt we really don’t care what people call us. We are there and will continue to be there for the dolphins. Not for people – for the dolphins.
The strength of an eco-system is in diversity. So also is the strength of a movement. We need diversity of strategies, tactics, ideas and passions.
With Taiji, we have that diversity. We have Sea Shepherd, The Dolphin Project, Save Taiji Dolphins, Earth Island Institute, Surfers for Cetaceans and many more groups and individuals.
We have no intention of bickering with any group nor do we have any interest in criticizing any other group. Our policy on criticisms from other groups is to ignore the criticisms and to refuse to engage in arguments with other groups.
The situation in Taiji continues to evolve. It is no secret that most Cove Guardian veterans have been banned from entry into Japan. This of course presents logistical obstacles that must be solved.
Sea Shepherd has decided to not be on the ground for September. Why? Because we don’t have an available Cove Guardian leader for September and September is the least dangerous month for dolphins in the season. Therefore we have scheduled Operation A for October – January and Operation B for January to March.
Why do we need a good Cove Guardian leader? Because it is our responsibility to see that volunteers from around the world have guidance when on the ground in Taiji. The police have in the past threatened and arrested Sea Shepherd volunteers. Leaders on site need to be there on the ground to offer advice and guidance on hotels, eating places, individuals of concern, the regulations and how to deal with the police and the ultra-nationalists, etc.
Sea Shepherd intends to have leadership on the ground in Taiji beginning in October. We also have plans in process that we do not intend to divulge simply because some people see fit to question our motivations and our strategies.
We are also working on a global plan to address the root of the problem – the captivity industry.
We will never abandon the dolphins. We have opposed the killing of dolphins since 1981 at Iki Island and since 2003 at Taiji. We had crew almost killed in the Tsunami in 2011. We have been on the ground every year in Taiji since 2009 in addition to fighting the slaughter of Pilot whale and dolphins in the Faroe Islands since 1983.
Criticisms, accusations, belittling and condemnation from third parties are meaningless within the context of our history and our achievements.
We salute Ric O’Barry and the Dolphin Project. We salute Louis Psyhoyos for The Cove. We salute the Producers of Blackfish. We salute Surfers for Cetaceans. We salute each and every person who has stood on the beach at Taiji and we salute each and every person who has demonstrated in front of a Japanese Embassy or consulate anywhere in the world.
We also salute our past Cove Guardian leaders who cannot return for the simple fact that they are Cove Guardian veterans. They did not commit a crime but in Japan opposition to the slaughter is treated like a crime.
Ric O’Barry has also suffered being banned demonstrating that it is not just Sea Shepherd’s opposition that is considered a threat.
Ric may disagree with Sea Shepherd’s aggressiveness but to the Japanese authorities, there seems to be no distinction.
In short, if our critics wish to criticize, they will do so and we can do nothing about it. But what we can do is to not join the party.
We need to focus on the real enemy and not be distracted by anyone else for any reason. I know people like to whine and complain, to point fingers and condemn. By all means they are free to do so. We have no control over that.
What we can control is our own response and that will be no response at all.
I see every individual and group involved in this cause as an important part of this important movement. There are only two sides – those who want to see dolphins slaughtered and those who don’t.
It a battle between life and death, good and evil, and we all know who represents Evil and who represents Good and if there are shades of gray poking about here and there, such shadows are of no significance.
We must try as hard as we can to speak in one voice when we can. Sea Shepherd intends to do just that.