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Letters / Under siege again

During Second World War, the Faroe Islands were occupied by friendly power, British soldiers, who stayed here from April 1940 until May 1945. One of them, Mr Kenneth Williamson, wrote in his book, The Atlantic Islands, Collins 1948:

“To the casual observer from abroad the grindadráp must seem to be one of the cruellest forms of hunting in existence. The Faeroese, who are by natural temper a kindly, hospitable and well-educated people, admit this much themselves.”

And he goes on:

“Knowing the conditions, it is easy, and only right, to condone the grindadráp. And to anyone who is interested in ethnology, its picturesqueness as a form of hunting, its moral value as a skilful and exciting sport and excuse for social celebration, and its importance as an event upon which something of the economic structure of the Faroe Islands rests, have great appeal. Should this very remarkable practice ever vanish from the Faeroe scene, then this small nation will have lost an integral part of its nationhood, and one of the most significant factors in the curious identity of its life.”

Sixty years later we are under siege again. There is no world war, there is no international war, but an aggressive organisation has declared war against us, because of the grindadráp.

Its leader, one certain Mr Watson, compares us with the Nazis, and he claims that Breivik was motivated by the grindadráp, when he committed the massacre on Utøya in Norway 2011. Apparently he has many young followers, who are volunteers and pay for ‘a holiday with a meaning’!?

In their reports, according to the same Mr Watson, they meet hostile whalers and feel unsafe! What would they expect? That we would welcome them with open arms?

The intelligent ‘Prince of Whales’ should have been informing his subjects that when a hostile enemy invades foreign ground, they may not be welcome.

As one of these ‘hostile whalers’ I have spoken to many of these youngsters from all over the world. It is obvious that they have been trapped by misinformation and manipulation, produced by the Sea Shepherd organisation, to believe that they have come to savage, uneducated, and hostile people, who do not hesitate to kill if necessary, according to their statement in local media, when they intervene in the hunt.

Luckily it seems that the visit to the Faroe Islands has opened their eyes and they realise that reality is different from what they have been told.

However, there are and will always be people who rather trust an incredible lie than a simple truth – and they are an easy target.

Hans J. Hermansen
Tórsbyrgi 16
FO-0100 Tórshavn
Faroe Islands.