FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Rainbow Fades

Pardon me thy bleeding piece of Earth that I am so gentle and mild with these butchers.

— “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare

Back in 1974 when Dr. Paul Spong, Robert Hunter and I organized the first ever voyage to save the whales we all agreed on one thing – The killing of whales was immoral, cruel, ecologically unsound and had no place in the modern world. Our position was that whaling, all whaling should be abolished. It was murder plain and simple.

Thus Bob Hunter, George Korotva, Fred Easton, and I found ourselves in front of a Soviet harpoon boat in June 1975 as eight magnificent Sperm whales fled before us in a frenzied panic a desperate race for their lives. We both smelt and felt their hot breath as they spouted in quick bursts, their gigantic lungs taxed to the limit as they tried to outrun the deadly killing machine bearing down on them.

And it was there in those heaving swells some sixty miles off the coast of California that the modern anti-whaling movement began when the Soviet harpooner pulled the trigger and sent an explosive tipped harpoon directly over our heads and in the backside of one of the fleeing leviathans.

It was a female and we were shocked to hear a blood-curdling scream of pain as the hot blood from her gaping wound pumped like a crimson fountain into the cold sea, we watched transfixed with horror as the head of the large male in the pod rose out of the water and dove back into the sea, the tail came out of the swells and followed the curving black back of the whale as it dove and then disappeared.

We all sat in the two small inflatable boats on the blood stained shroud of the sea and as the female rolled in agony on the surface in front of us the Russians began to reload their harpoon and were preparing to attach a cable, when suddenly the surface of the sea exploded behind us and we saw this angry Sperm whale rise up out of the ocean in a desperate and hopeless attempt to defend his pod from these killers. But they were ready for him and the harpooner nonchalantly squeezed the trigger and an unattached harpoon shot out with a clap of thunder and at point blank range slammed into the head of the large male and exploded in a shower of blood and gore as the dying whale fell back screaming pitifully, painfully convulsing in a spreading pool of steaming blood.

And still we sat there. I had jumped into the boat with Fred Easton and he had just captured the harpoon shot on his camera and was trying to keep it from getting wet when we saw the mortally wounded whale dive, and a trail of blood and bubbles came towards us very fast.

The whale came up and out of the water, his head rising swiftly along side our boat at a angle that would bring his body crashing down upon us. Cold salt water and steaming blood poured down onto us as I saw eye appear before me, so close I could see my own reflection and it was at that point that something happened and my life was never the same again.

Because in that singular eye, I saw a glimpse of intelligence, and I felt an understanding, that the whale understood what we were trying to do and suddenly I saw an incredible effort by the whale to halt his assault on us as his muscles clenched and the angle of his body changed so that he began to sink back into the sea alongside of us rather than to crush us beneath him. I saw his eye sink into the deep blue of the sea and disappear and I knew that I was the last thing he saw before he died.

The sun was slowly sinking as the Russians began to haul in their kills with threatening gestures towards us. I could barely speak, the look in that whale’s eye was haunting. He knew, he was aware, it was so plain to see and what sent shivers through me was the realization that what I had also glimpsed in that eye was – pity!

Not for himself but for us. How could we slaughter so remorselessly and without empathy or even a thought for what we were doing?

As I looked at the Russian whaling fleet scattered around my tiny boat I wondered what was motivating them? They were killing these magnificent, intelligent, socially complex, warm blooded sentient beings for what?

And it occurred to me that one of the products they were coveting from the whale was spermaceti oil, a high heat resistant lubricant used in sophisticated machinery including the production of inter continental ballistic missiles and the revelation came to me that we were killing such perfect beings for the purpose of obtaining an oil used in the production of a weapon designed to exterminate large populations of human beings.

And that was when it struck me. Is man really this insane?

And from that day onward I have devoted my life to defending the whales from the murderous designs of my own species. That whale had chosen to spare my life and in turn I have chosen to dedicate my life to defending whalekind from mankind.

Today the whales are my clients, not people.

And thus it is with a deep sadness and a sense of betrayal that I see the organization I co-founded now compromising on the lives of whales.

Of course much has changed. Many of the original Greenpeace people have died or moved on, and a few just simply sold out. Some of us, myself included have been the victims of revisionism and we have had our co-founder status removed Orwellian style on the Greenpeace website to simply “early member.”

But that is unimportant, I don’t mind being betrayed by Greenpeace but what I do mind and what grieves me sorely is that Greenpeace is now betraying the whales and is supporting the resumption of commercial whaling under certain conditions. It is like Greenpeace has claimed dominion over the lives of the whales to barter them in negotiations with their killers.

Why? Because it is in the nature of bureaucrats to compromise and Greenpeace is now a mega-international eco-corporation run by career eco-bureaucrats. The whales have now become simply numbers without sentience and the International Whaling Commission nothing more than an annual round of horse trading, subject to the influence of bribes, not science, to politics and not conservation.

I do know one thing for certain. These compromisers have never seen a whale die. They have never looked into the eye of a whale. They have never been witness to the intelligence and magnificence of what a whale really is – not a number or a piece of sushi on a plate, but a separate reality of intelligence, culture and perception.

Captain Paul Watson, a co-founder of the Greenpeace Foundation, is director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

 

WORDS THAT STICK
?

 

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail