I am in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. I dreamed of this country as I grew up. I read books and saw movies about it. I studied their history, culture, martial arts and found many similarities between theirs and, among others, the Huns. I discovered that their thinkers have reached the same conclusions about the nature of existence, much like Krishnamurti, Ekhardt Tolle, Carlos Castaneda and others all over the planet. In the Hagakure, the Book of the Samurai one can read that, “There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment. A man’s whole life is a succession of moment after moment. If one fully understands the present moment, there is nothing left to do, and nothing else to pursue”.
These words are just as universal as unconditional love and can be felt by every human being even if only for a short time. These link us together, while our actions keep us apart…
Here in Taiji there is a so called “tradition” which leads locals to slaughter dolphins. Some fishermen consider dolphins “pests” because the dolphins eat the fish the are after, so they have no qualm about herding them into a small cove, where kill them. However they discovered that dolphins are far more valuable alive and can be sold for tens of thousands of dollars, netting more profit than selling their meat. This of course is a new addition to the old “tradition”, which now only serves as a big tarp, which is used to hide what is abhorring to other humans.
The enslavement of dolphins and other cetaceans is a relatively new. We should not be surprised by this since our species has long history of enslaving or killing other members of our own species. So we could go on to say SeaWorld is a legal and profitable business enterprise. Correct me if I am wrong but the human slavers used to say that too. While enslavement of humans was once legal, it was never morally acceptable. Neither is the enslavement of dolphins.
There is of course more to what is happening in Taiji. The activities of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the movie The Cove brought the dolphin slaughter and capture to the attention of a wider audience. The more they were questioned and objected to the more defensive the dolphin killers became. First they claimed that anyone who questioned their tradition was a racist. Since we know that this is no tradition but a cruel business their lie does not stand a chance.
Then they got the police and the council involved. They cordoned off the Killing Cove and thought it will be enough to stop the activists from witnessing and reporting what they are doing to the dolphins. Next they went on to use huge tarps to hide from the cameras when they are transferring the dead dolphins to the slaughterhouse and the live ones to the dolphin pens before selling them. This shows they are aware that their violent business is unacceptable to others and they are making every attempt to hide it because publicity harms their cruel trade.
I am not here to change these people, because I am aware that it is impossible to change anyone but myself. I am here to remind them there is another way. On 5 November 2013 I have witnessed the last moments of a pond of Risso dolphins on this marvelous Earth, before they disappeared behind a gray tarp and were slaughtered. The only survivor, after she witnessed the death of her family, was taken to a small holding pen, awaiting to be sold to slavery. In the same country, about 500 kilometres from here, Mr Izumi Ishii from Ito-Shi, Shizuoka, once a dolphin hunter, has launched his dolphin watching business in 2002. He is a great example how one, after understanding the consequences of one’s actions, can change for the better.
I am not alone here. There are other Sea Shepherd activists here, from the beginning till the end of the dolphin killing season (1 September through March the next year). There were and are other activists from all over the world. We are working together for the dolphins. They are our clients. We are costing the dolphin killing business money and time. They have to erect more tarps, roster on more police, build higher fences, come up with new lies to all our questions and revelations about them.
In the meantime the demand for dolphin meat continues to decline, due to the growing level of mercury in the meat. The new movie Blackfish drove another nail into the coffin of SeaWorld and other similar businesses. The clouds over the Taiji Fishermen’s Union looks darker every day.
Sometimes change takes a while, sometimes it is fast and furious like a tsunami. We will be here to see that change, we will be patient, never tiring, never giving up. After all it is called Operation Infinite Patience!!!