On our recent trip to Torshavn in the Faroe Islands, my wife the Beautiful AP and I visited the National Museum that has artifacts of early sailors, Vikings and whale hunters—particularly whale hunters.
I must tell you that seeing the small size and limited power of the boats that the whale hunters used has put me off becoming a whale hunter in the 1600s. Sorry, that’s not for me. Actually that, added to the killing of those magnificent animals, probably won’t make me a whale hunter in any era.
Among its outstanding artifacts, this museum had an excellent film about the killing of the whales circa 1920. Picture a Sunday with women and children dressed in their Sunday finest, many having come directly from praying and praising their eternal loving God at church.
These well-dressed folks—men in suits, women in their Sunday best, children miniature versions of them – stood on the docks talking and laughing and looking out to the harbor; parents holding their children’s hands, other children skipping and playing. A true family day; a true town day; a truly wonderful day for all concerned.
Then they appeared; dozens upon dozens of pilot whales being herded by the whale hunters to the small harbor where the Sunday-go-to-meeting folks were now cheering. Kids were jumping up and down and clapping. The adults’ faces showed glee; a truly wonderful day for all concerned.
And the slaughter began.
The whale hunters started hacking away at the whales, the people cheering wildly as the blood splashed onto the docks, splattering many onlookers. The kids skipped happily as the blood washed over the land and over their little well-dressed bodies.
The water of the harbor turned red. It was reminiscent of one of the plagues Yahweh sent to destroy the Egyptians – only now it was the whales, thrashing and dying ignoble deaths in the shallows of the harbor.
Oh, how the boys and girls, the fathers, mothers, grandparents, the newly married and the single people looking for love cheered the blood and guts slaughter of these sentient creatures. There would be meat tonight and every night, and whale blubber for myriad uses.
I admit, the video engaged me, enraged me and fascinated me; it sickened me too, but it also made me realize that mankind must eat and we have the ability to turn just about everything into food and resources that we need. Our ways are at times grisly, yes; but nature—our human nature—is drenched in blood. It always has been so and perhaps it always will be so. Humankind dances our dance on the death docks even if we are vegetarians killing plants and vegetables with no blood to be seen. To live, the other living often must die.
I highly recommend visiting the museum should you be sailing the North Atlantic. I do not recommend killing the whales, if you can avoid it.
[Frank Scoblete’s latest books are I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps, Confessions of a Wayward Catholic and I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack. Available from Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.]