Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Canada’s Royal a Bloody Mess

This week, Canada’s Governor General, Michelle Jean gutted a seal, ripped out its heart, and took a bite of the bleeding organ, covering herself in blood and goo. As she took a tissue to wipe off the blood and guts, she told her daughter it tastes good.

The Governor General – Canada’s official representative to the Queen of England – made the gruesome gesture to show her support for the Inuit seal hunters in Canada’s northernmost regions, during her week-long tour of the Arctic.

Over the years, controversy over the traditional seal hunts in the Arctic have circled over the inhumane way the seals are clubbed, gutted and consumed by environmental groups, politicians, even celebrities such as Sir. Paul McCartney.

To counter the negative press, the Inuit seal hunters say they conduct these hunts in the same ways their ancestors have for generations, to honour the seal, the hunt and their way of life.

The whole thing stinks worse than rotting seal corpses bobbing and weaving in a sea of blood and guts.

Many cultures and religions continue to honour and respect their traditions, without such blood, gore and death.

Catholics honour lent, by giving up something special to them during that time period – usually meat on Fridays, hence the tradition of fish and chip Fridays. Jews will give up bread for matzoh during Passover to honour those who had to go without bread during a trek through the desert. One of the more brutal and violent traditions occurs every Christmas -- in the Philippians volunteers participate in a remake of Christ’s last days, by marching to giant crosses, and then nailing themselves to these giant crosses.

But even in the most violent acts above, all the participants are able and willing to make the decisions themselves as to what to do. The low seal, a water mammal with the brain about the size of a birds, lacks that basic luxury. It isn’t as if seals come up to the Inuit, and willingly volunteer themselves for the sacrifice.

Though I suppose cows and pigs rarely volunteer themselves for our dinner tables. But cows, pigs and other living animals bred specifically for human consumption are not clubbed over the head, and gutted in a violent and brutal manner, often with children present as is the case in the Inuit seal hunt.

This is our way, has been for many generations – claim the seal hunters.

Times change, and as human beings progress by learning and growing socially and culturally, the ways of the past can always be honoured and remembered, without all the pain and suffering of the past.

There is no need to club a seal, and rip its insides out to honour traditions. There are many more humane ways to harvest seals, just the Inuit, stuck in their traditional muck of the past refuse to accept these more civilized methods.

And by showing her support, Canada’s royal representative is saying – indirectly, but quite graphically – that The Queen of England supports the inhumane methods of the seal hunt.

If the Queen of England still honoured some of her traditions much as the Inuit continue to honour theirs, I’d probably be hearing “off with his head” as her big goons shackled me and led me to the gallows to be beheaded, for writing this blog.

Lucky for us all, that most cultures in civilized society have outgrown the need for violence and destruction. Too bad the Inuit up in Canada’s north have not.

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