At last, action that might actually stop Japan’s whaling
Apparently, anti-whaling activist Peter Bethune is pretty chipper for a guy who could be spending the next 15 years in a Japanese prison. Perhaps he’ll feel especially vindicated by today’s news that the federal government is taking legal action to try and put an end to Japanese whaling.
But in contrast to the mindless and increasingly dangerous anarchism of the Sea Shepherd protesters, legal action by Australia in the International Court of Justice has the potential to save an actual whale.
The high-seas harassment of whalers has become increasingly dangerous and, well, bit embarrassing. Bethune, you may remember, was the skipper of stealth boat the Ady Gil, who picked a fight with an Japanese industrial whaling ship and lost. The Adi Gil sank and in a surreal denouement Bethune later boarded the Shonan Maru 2, with a knife, trying to put the captain under citizen’s arrest.
But instead of arresting the captain he was taken back to Japan and charged.
The passion of these second-generation hippies does deserve respect in an age where much of what passes for political activism involves changing your Twitter avatar or joining a Facebook group. At least the Sea Shepherd guys get out a bit.
But other than making headlines and endangering lives, what were they achieving through their recklessness?
Very little, I’d argue.
It’s not as if Australian public opinion was likely to shift to being pro-whaling any time soon.
Bethune will be sentenced in two weeks. It’s a bit of a tragic irony that he is confronted now with the reality that the rule of law will prevail, over both his own fate and that of the whales he was seeking to protect.
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