FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Christmas Message From the Bottom of the World

by Cpt. PAUL WATSON

It is Christmas Eve down here off the coast of Antarctica and I can absolutely assure you that we are all having a very white Christmas. And it is a happy Christmas because there is no place else we would choose to be.

Not only is it a white Christmas with towering massive alabaster icebergs and heaving floes of cobalt blue ice, it is a magical Christmas as orcas, humpbacks, fins, blues and piked whales escort us through these seas, as albatross, petrels, and skua gulls fly along beside us. And on the floes, the penguins, primarily Adelie and kings comically “salute” us as we pass by.

Being in these waters is like being on another planet or in another dimension of time and reality where humans are a scarce species and the oceans teem with the diversity of life. The air is pure and smells alive and the waters even purer and moving with life.

I have spent five Christmas days since 2002 in this wondrous place and I love it here, love it perhaps more than any other place on Earth despite, or perhaps because of its isolation, its wildness, and its unpredictability.

To love something is to defend it – to be willing to fight and to die for it. And such is the love that I feel for the magnificent citizens of this vast frozen region that I have no hesitation in acting in their defence, whatever the consequences might be.

Ahead of us at this moment is a fleet of killers. Led by the ship I call the Cetacean Death Star, (formally known as the Nisshin Maru), and accompanied by three vicious harpoon vessels, they have only one purpose in these waters and that is to deliver an agonizingly cruel death to the intelligent and gentle giants that grace these waters.

We are here to save life and they are here to kill. Our purposes are clearly defined.

I do not hate these whalers. I do pity them that they can take life away so thoughtlessly and so casually without pause for remorse or reflection.

As Marc Anthony said in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “Pardon me, thou bleeding piece of Earth that I am so gentle and mild with these butchers.”

For gentle and mild we are indeed. Every fibre of my being wants to sink that obscene floating death factory, yet I must by necessity employ gentler tactics and a more complex strategy.

But every whale that dies pains me to the core of my being. I feel every harpoon and hear every scream. I smell the blood and the fear and I see the smirks of chauvinistic humanity as they pull the triggers of their harpoon cannons and mutilate the corpses with their lances.

Restrained by our own compassion and ideals of the sacredness of life, we intercept, harass, block and pursue, driven by the guilt we must endure as whales suffer and die because of our decision of practical restraint. We seek year after year to silence the harpoons and to silence the haunting screams of the whales through tactics that although somewhat effective require time to be truly effective and time is a commodity that the whales are running short of.

And as we willingly choose to abhor a violent solution we must suffer accusations that we are violent by these same mad killers who answer our non-harmful tactics with bullets and grenades. They accuse us of being violent as they spill thousands of steaming gallons of the hottest blood on Earth into the frigid waters of Antarctica and fill the polar air with the pitiful screams of whales dying in horrific agony.

Nothing is simple in this world where commerce is absolved for passing death sentences on intelligent socially complex gentle sentient beings and where diplomacy is used as an excuse to ignore the consequences of the slaughter of the gentle and the innocent.

On this day, the eve of Christmas, the day of love and respect, we find ourselves in the most welcome position of pursuing killers with the purpose of defending their intended victims. We have them on the run and once they stop and attempt to whale we will be on them and we will stop them, as we have stopped them before and we will continue to stop them, halving their quota and costing them their bloody profits.

What better way to spend Christmas Day than saving the lives of such beautiful and uniquely marvellous beings as the whales.

And to add joy to this Christmas for all forty of us on this ship is in knowing that we have the support of so many people around the world who have made it possible for us to be here to be doing what we are doing.

Every whale we save is a whale that you save. Every blow we strike against the illegal profits of the whalers is a strike that you also have struck. In this great venture we are a team and it is a partnership that can change the way things are done on this planet – where we can challenge the arrogance and the ignorance of those who reap life and sow death for profit and culture.

If we can save just one whale from the harpoons it would be victory. However, like we did for the last two years, we intend to defend, protect, and save hundreds of these endangered and threatened giants.

As we enter a new year, we do so knowing that we are not down here alone. You are with us and for that we are deeply grateful. You give us the strength to be strong and the passion to be compassionate and the encouragement to be courageous.

Thank-you sincerely from my crew and I.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from the forty of us at the bottom of the world to all of you around this most beautiful blue and white sphere of life and diversity.

Captain Paul Watson is director of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

July 26, 2017
John W. Whitehead
Policing for Profit: Jeff Sessions & Co.’s Thinly Veiled Plot to Rob Us Blind
Pete Dolack
Trump’s Re-Negotiation Proposal Will Make NAFTA Worse
George Capaccio
“Beauty of Our Weapons” in the War on Yemen
Ramzy Baroud
Fear and Trepidation in Tel Aviv: Is Israel Losing the Syrian War?
John McMurtry
Brexit Counter-Revolution Still in Motion
Ted Rall
The Democrats Are A Lost Cause
Tom Gill
Is Macron Already Faltering?
Ed Kemmick
Empty Charges Erode Trust in Montana Elections
Rev. William Alberts
Fake News? Or Fake Faith?
James Heddle
The Ethics and Politics of Nuclear Waste are Being Tested in Southern California
Binoy Kampmark
Slaying in Minneapolis: Justine Damond, Shooting Cultures and Race
Jeff Berg
Jonesing for Real Change
Jesse Jackson
The ‘Voter Fraud’ Commission Itself is Fraudulent
July 25, 2017
Paul Street
A Suggestion for Bernie: On Crimes Detectable and Not
David W. Pear
Venezuela on the Edge of Civil War
John Grant
Uruguay Tells US Drug War to Take a Hike
Charles Pierson
Like Climate Change? You’ll Love the Langevin Amendment
Linda Ford
Feminism Co-opted
Andrew Stewart
Any Regrets About Not Supporting Clinton Last Summer?
Aidan O'Brien
Painting the Irish Titanic Pink
Rob Seimetz
Attitudes Towards Pets vs Attitudes Towards the Natural World
Medea Benjamin
A Global Movement to Confront Drone Warfare
Norman Solomon
When Barbara Lee Doesn’t Speak for Me
William Hawes
What Divides America From the World (and Each Other)
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?
Chandra Muzaffar
The Bilateral Relationship that Matters
Binoy Kampmark
John McCain: Cancer as Combatant
July 24, 2017
Patrick Cockburn
A Shameful Silence: Where is the Outrage Over the Slaughter of Civilians in Mosul?
Robert Hunziker
Extremely Nasty Climate Wake-Up
Ron Jacobs
Dylan and Woody: Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
Dan Glazebrook
Quantitative Easing: the Most Opaque Transfer of Wealth in History
Ellen Brown
Saving Illinois: Getting More Bang for the State’s Bucks
Richard Hardigan
The Media is Misleading the Public on the Al-Asqa Mosque Situation
Matthew Stevenson
Travels in Trump’s America: Memphis, Little Rock, Fayetteville and Bentonville
Ruth Fowler
Fire at Grenfell
Ezra Kronfeld
The Rights of Sex Workers: Where is the Movement to Legalize Prostitution
Mark Weisbrot
What Venezuela Needs: Negotiation Not Regime Change
Binoy Kampmark
From Spicy to the Mooch: A Farewell to Sean Spicer
Wim Laven
Progress Report, Donald Trump: Failing
Weekend Edition
July 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Kevin Zeese
Green Party Growing Pains; Our Own Crisis of Democracy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Red State, Blue State; Green State, Deep State
Paul Street
“Inclusive Capitalism,” Nancy Pelosi, and the Dying Planet
Anthony DiMaggio
Higher Education Fallacies: What’s Behind Rising Conservative Distrust of Learning?
Andrew Levine
Why Republicans Won’t Dump Trump Anytime Soon
Michael Colby
Ben & Jerry’s Has No Clothes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail