We stood opposite the Japanese Embassy yesterday (22/2/13) to protest about and raise public awareness about the barbaric drive hunt, slaughter and live capture of dolphins (and small whales) in Taiji Cove. Those of you who have been following my updates during this season (September to March) will know about the sheer relentlessness and ferocity of this hunt. You will also be aware that the dolphin show industry and the drive hunt are bedfellows as the real profit lies in the live capture and trade in dolphins for human entertainment. This is what yesterday was all about and that is why we stood fin to fin in sub zero temperatures on a London street waving banners, shouting, chanting, being moved to across the road by the police, being photographed by the Embassy security staff and being tooted at by supportive drivers.
The organisers Karen and Beka Stevens had a suitcase full of educational leaflets which we handed to those passers by who were receptive or curious and to those drivers who had stopped for the traffic lights and expressed an interest.
It was an energetic protest attended by a group of people from all walks of life and all ages who are united in their passion about one thing, the necessity to be a voice for the dolphins and small whales and to use the right of protest to urge Taiji to cease their barbaric drive hunt. Whilst this practice continues, so will we and as more people become aware and outraged, these protests will get larger and noisier.
Oh yes, we made some noise and just in case the Embassy staff could not hear what we were there about, some of us moved to the middle section of the road to make it easier for them to hear our message. You know when you hear a song on the radio and those words play on a loop all day and you find yourself singing them without conscious directives. Well, this may have happened to some of the Embassy staff. They might find the words/chants “Shame, Shame, Shame on You”, “The World Knows About The Cove”, “Stop Killing Dolphins”, “No Capture, No Kill”, “Turn The Cove Blue” , “Stop The Slaughter in The Water” and “You’re Not going To Win The Olympics”. We did come up with a more London chant “You Ough’r Stop The Slaugh’er in the Wa’er Innit!” (Just a bit of fun. Fun is a coping mechanism to release tensions. Bit of cognitive dissonance as it’s a serious cause but it is a cranial strategy to keep calm and do what you are there for. I am a cockney by manifestation into the world by the way, so I am not being derogatory by using slang. Causes like this are great levellers. They transcend all societal barriers. You feel this. I feel this. We unite)
People designed fabulous posters and a couple of participants came in costume. The orca below is Angela Findlay. She made this outfit. (She was a dolphin at our previous protest in November) By dressing up, Angela is able to attract the interest of pedestrians who want to know why she is dressed up and it opens up an opportunity for her to tell them about Taiji and they go away with a leaflet and more awareness.
The police arrived in a van and several officers descended on us in the middle part of the road and told us that as there were no barriers, we were on a traffic island and it was dangerous and we had permission to protest over there, there ! over the road. We obliged and the protest continued. But we were there to raise awareness and yes, we know for sure “The Met Police Know About The Cove!”. New chant for next time maybe when they arrive?
I want to highlight one little protester who represents the next generation. You could tell that she had not just been brought along by her parent but that she too was genuinely there for the dolphins. You cannot fake that kind of energy. It is there and tangible or it is not. It comes from the heart and the heart does not lie and if there is genuine love for a cause or project, all hearts connect and the message is transferred to one omnipresent voice. She had her own chant “We don’t want a Red Cove. Make the Cove Blue” She encouraged the crowd to add their voices to hers and of course they did.
The cold did not dampen the spirits or the energies of the protestors and the wave of chants continued spurred on by the devoted enthusiasm of every participant and another duo who kept the kept the outpourings flowing
So the Embassy definitely knew we were there and why. Just to clarify, one of the intentions was to make a constant noise to represent what the dolphins/small whales have to endure when the banger boats drive them into the Cove. If it disrupted the thought patterns and concentration of the Embassy staff then they were experiencing at a very miniscule level what the dolphins/whales experience. If they felt ill at ease because a noisy mob was entering their comfort zone then that was a miniscule representation of what the cetaceans must experience when up to 11 hunting boats advance into their territory with menace. There was a period of silence with tealights to remember those dolphins/small whales who had died agonising deaths at the hands of the Taiji hunters.
This would represent the eerie silence in the Cove which the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians remark upon after the slaughter is complete. The Embassy staff are lucky in the sense that it went quiet for them after the protesters left and they were able to go home to their families. Not so for the dolphins and whales. If they are “fortunate” enough to have been deselected from the slaughter process, they are held in pens and starved until they have learned to perform tricks in exchange for dead fish.