Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Last night, Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean took two Sea Shepherd activists hostage, beat them, and tied them to a mast so they were repeatedly immersed to freezing Antarctic sea water. This is a dangerous escalation in the violence used by the Japanese against those protesting against its actions. But it also shows their cruelty doesn't just extend to whales, but also to people. OTOH, this isn't anything new for Japan - one only has to remember their appalling treatment of POWs during WWII - and a perusal of past human rights reports show that they are still struggling at times to remove this legacy of cruelty from their justice system (though also moving in the right direction, albeit slowly).

Fortunately, it now looks like the hostages are going to be freed. But you really have to wonder what else the whalers are going to try this year...