Activists who act like terrorists

The Oct. 4 Washington Post brief “Russia charges 14 Greenpeace ‘pirates” made me think, “Good!” I am instinctively unimpressed by the more aggressive tactics of activist groups — Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherds in particular.

If they want my understanding, sympathy or support, then illegally boarding ships on the high seas, trespassing and damaging private property on land or at sea like a troop of unsupervised juvenile delinquents is not the way to do it.

I care very much about environmental and wildlife conservation. But, at the same time, I care very little for others telling me what to think. I’m happy to do my own thinking, thank you.

The Dutch government has stepped in claiming the fault is the Russians’ (“Dutch protest Greenpeace arrests,” Oct. 6), but I am less interested in the Dutch than I am in the Russians, who have jurisdiction for the time being. If the Russians choose to inflict the severest penalty imaginable, I will pardon them and watch the show. Since the most egregious behavior looks like terrorism, I suggest handling the activists as terrorists.

I can’t help but draw comparisons with New Zealand skipper Peter Bethune, who was prosecuted in Japan, convicted and then swiftly deported in July 2010 for his February 2010 butyric acid attack on, and illegal boarding of, the Shonan Maru No. 2 whaling ship in the Southern Ocean. Clearly Bethune was/is a terrorist in need of a court-supervised life for the rest of his days. I greatly regretted that he was released with a suspended sentence and spared the opportunity of correcting himself.

grant piper
tokyo

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.