My blog will be short tonight because it is almost 1am and we are just getting in! Tomorrow I will talk in detail what went down today, but for now I”m just going to post the speech I gave to the Japanese press today.
I’ll have so much to tell come Saturday! 🙂 So much happened today, I am not going to try and remember everything at this moment!
Far Fast deep! Pray the dolphins get away tomorrow too!
Elora Malama West
I was given some topics that they wanted me to cover, the slaughter was not the main idea, for my speech. So I made sure that the slaughter had a very loud presence in the speech, when I wrote this.
My name is Elora Malama West, I was sixteen when I arrived in Japan, but I turned seventeen on the 9th of November. I home-school in Washington State USA, while participating in a corporative within our school district that allows me to get my high-school diploma and start college my junior year. However I had to move fall quarter’s college classes to summer because an opportunity presented itself to me; the opportunity to come here to Japan and voice my concerns about Taiji’s annual slaughter of Dolphins and Whales. I have turned this trip into my senior project. I started a blog, and now after accumulating a following, I feel that I have a moral responsibility to be the eyes and ears of what is going on at the grounds of the Taiji Cove, for my generation. The generation that needs to take a stand, and clean up the mess that you “the grown ups”, have made.
We as a global community need to keep our oceans clean, healthy, and alive, so that the millions of species on this planet can survive. We only have one Earth, and we as humans, the most destructive species, are the only beings that can reverse the damage. Humans need to live in harmony with the creatures that share Earth with us. Something that Dolphins and Whales have managed to do for millions of years, we should be learning from them.
My future plans are to get my bachelor’s degree. My major being in Environmental Journalism, and my minor Photography. I want to see the world, meet people, and I want to work to save our planet. I am a teenage activist who isn’t going to let age or marriage stop me from fighting against animal cruelty. I know that many girls really do enjoy being a stay at home Mom, I love my mom for that. My Mom, keeps our house clean, cooks, and is always there when we need her, and she has schooled my younger sister and me since we were in kinder-garden and 2nd grade. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I am only 17. I am not thinking about families and getting married, I am more worried about the health of our planet.
Fighting against this, while not being able to speak Japanese is tough. However we have managed to do it for three months now. Japanese supporters come help us communicate, there are translators at meetings, and about 50% of the dolphin hunters speak a lot more English than they let on. I am not naive to the fact that if a group of Japanese citizens came into the States protesting something, that they would have a much harder time communicating with us. The police bring in translators here, and we have apps on the Iphone. But what I think is really cool, we will go into a car rental shop and they have books or sheets of paper explaining what we are signing, in English. You wouldn’t see anything like that in the States as far as I am aware of. So I am thankful that the people are actually working to communicate with us.
A lot of Anti Sea Shepherd people think that we are rude for not learning the language. Maybe this is a difference in cultures, but I would stand next to a group of Japanese people standing up against the United States factory farming, even if they did not speak English. I don’t think it is rude when we are trying to communicate the best we can. I only had three days notice that I was coming, it’s not like I could learn Japanese in three days.
My senior project is about Taiji’s culture and annual dolphin slaughter. But something I learned within the first month of being here… was that this is not in-fact culture. I keep being told that they have been killing dolphins for over 400 years. Sea World was not around 400 years ago? Why are they selling their “primary source of food” to marine parks?
You don’t hide your culture! I would think they would have atonement for the animals, but we have watched these dolphin molesters drown, torture, tear apart families, and eat lunch sitting in pools of blood.
We have talked with many Japanese people and people living in Japan, who have done the research to tell us that the slaughter of dolphins has only been happening since the 1970’s. Taiji is a whaling village, and has been for hundreds of years, that is true. But nowadays Whale meat is contaminated with VERY high levels of mercury, that the small town is poisoning the Japanese people.
Why, is the Japanese government assisting Taiji, by helping them not only hide, but also lie? I ask the people of Japan to think about this… your tax payer Yen is going to blue tarps, cost guard vessels (when we don’t even have a boat in the water) and helicopters. Just to watch us take pictures. If I were a citizen of this country I would be very upset. Your government is lying to you.
Dolphins and Whales are the most intelligent species on this planet. They have managed to live in harmony with the Earth, something humans are not able to do. They have a language humans cannot understand. They have a history and a culture that humans have no way of understanding, if we slaughter them! A dolphin can recognize itself in a mirror. They nurse their young for over two years. Dolphins live and travel the world with their families till the day they die… Dolphins can actually see through you. How incredible is that? Why are we mass slaughtering and poisoning a being that should be cherished and protected?
Japan is leading the world in ocean destruction, how can we help turn this around? Here I am 17, I traveled over 30 hours to be here, I’m willing to give up my entire summer break to catch up with school, risk my life around 20 or so very angry dolphin hunters, and come back every year, to be a voice for the dolphins, my generation, and to stand here explaining why this needs to stop! The world is mad at Japan, because the government allows 23,000 dolphins to be killed each year… because it allows 1000 Whales to be killed each year in a Whale sanctuary in Antarctica, because it lies and poisons its people… but most of all because Japan is a huge part of the destruction of our oceans, killing this planet for the future generations to come. All for a very sort term profit. Industrial over fishing is not sustainable. I ask everyone to think hard about everything I just said, and ask ourselves… is it worth it?
I want to end on a note of hope though. Over the last three months I found time and time again that the Japanese people are kind, helpful, gentle and always smiling. This gives me hope. We have had numerous Japanese supporters come to Taiji to stand with us against this, their reactions to seeing the Cove in person gives me hope. And Sea Shepherd being here in Tokyo to discuss this gives me hope. We can turn this around.