Arriving in Doha, Qatar & Activists

Arriving in Doha, Qatar & Activists

Doha city, another sprawl of humanity and a construction site of gigantic skyscrapers sprouting out of every conceivable piece of arid land. Photo: Lesley Rochat

My journey to Doha, Qatar, with Leonard Compagno, world famous shark researcher, begins a way I would rather forget.  Up at 4 am after 3 hours sleep, still packing cameras by 5am, and leaving for the 35 minute drive to catch our 6.20am flight to Johannesburg at 5.20am! Leonard transforms into racing driver extraordinaire. I co-pilot, “Faster Len!” and we cut 35mins to 20mins. Perillis screech, announcing our arrival, luggage flies and I run for the book-in counter, while Len speeds off to park the car. “I’m sorry but the flight is closed,” says the book-in attendant. “Oh no, we have a connect to Doha to attend a very important conference, and simply must catch this flight, pleeaaasse!” I beg. For a few seconds, as I continue to beg, he calculates most accurately that my desperation is progressing toward pure hysteria, and wisely proceeds to create a miracle. I worship him! And as we run for the gate I hand him a generous tip. He smiles, content with his good deed for the day.

Finally relaxed on the flight I read the World Headlines and befitting to our mission as activists on our way to CITES to do all we can to ensure the proposed marine species, including eight shark species have the best chance of success, I read: “Sea Shepherd anti-whaling activist arrested” Peter Bethune, age 44, was arrested in mid February when after months of high seas clashes with the Japanese whaling fleet he boarded the harpoon ship, the Shonan Maru II, to make a citizen’s arrest of captain Hiroyuki Komiya for what he said was the attempted murder of his six crew. Bethune was the captain of the Sea Shepherd high-tech power boat that was sliced in half in a collision with the Shonan Maru II in January. Bethune has been charged with trespassing on a ship, a charge that can carry up to three years’ in jail. Two other activists from Greenpeace named the “Tokyo Two” are also being held in Japan. They face up to 10 years in prison for theft and trespassing after they took a box of salted whale meat, which they said was proof of embezzlement in Japan’s state-funded annual whaling expeditions. I salute these heroes and fellow activists.

The Japanese are a nation which lack greatness, as per Ghandi’s statement (see blog 10 March), as they continue to hunt whales under the guise of scientific research, a loophole to a moratorium on whaling. They show their weakness again by opposing the endangered blue fin tuna being listed on Appendix I. The reasons for both are simply that it is part of their culture to kill and consume these animals (notwithstanding their greed), and therefore their right to continue to live in destructive ignorance. It’s not called CoP15 for nothing as other nations are expected to CoP out of protecting our animals during CITES 2010. It’s going to be an interesting 2 weeks…

  1. RhodesRhodes03-14-2010

    Hi Les,

    Activism is the only way we are going to push these Japanese before the eat up the entire Animal Kingdom.
    Give them a piece of your mind.

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