I am not surprised that my recent blog "Pete Bethune's Holy Warriors" has caused such passionate discussions on both sides.
What I am surprised about is that many seem to miss the point.
Not the ones who agree, for they are the enlightened ones of course. I am talking about the defenders of Captain Bethune. Why not carry automatic weapons? Africa is a dangerous place full of dangerous killers.
I know that Africa is a dangerous place, and perhaps Pete and his buddies should be armed to brave such nefarious territory, but do so not in the name of a movement that has taken a higher ground since its inception. The bad guys are violent, and we are not. They carry weapons, we are right!
It is unfortunate that Captain Bethune cannot go against these violent individuals armed with his passions rather than weapons to do what is right. Passion has driven many of the thousands of individuals who have served the earth over the years. Yes it is dangerous sometimes. Doing what is right is generally dangerous. Whether it is a child standing up to bullies or individuals promoting causes, history tells us that non-violence generally hurts, but most often wins. If you need weapons, stick to the camera. As Paul Watson knows, "The camera is the most powerful weapon in the world."
Have no doubt that I have often wanted to strike out in anger and take up arms for the cause myself, but then I sobered up and became human again. I certainly believe we come from apes, but I also would like to believe we have evolved beyond that. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Ghandi, and the Dalai Lama all know better. How might our human history be different if they had taken up arms?
I do not want a cause that I have supported loyally for more than 30 years to go over to the dark side. Give up the arms and go with the passion. Many with fewer muscles, less survival training, and a whole lot less machismo have done it without guns, and Pete Bethune can too. He looks healthy, and he should do just fine without his big gun!
I also know a bit about what I speak. You might want to judge me from my portrayal on Animal Planet's Whale Wars, or say I do not know about danger, and that is your right. But I hope you are more intelligent than that.
Whale Wars is: "reality television." Two words: Half are true. It is TV! Enough said.
As far as danger is concerned: I have driven ships around the world doing some fairly hairy stunts, and I have always brought everyone back in one piece. I have faced guerrillas in the Congo, bandits in Kenya, and poachers around the world with???
Yes, with only a camera.
I first walked the entire length of Afghanistan in 1972, and returned numerous times armed with a camera. I will admit it was a big camera. The last trip being 2001 when Mary MacMakin and I took a public bus through those horrible tribal areas, past Tora Bora to Kabul. Yes armed with a camera -- and Mary, a formidable weapon in her own right.
Others have taken different paths and I understand. I just want the Environmental Movement to remain on the moral high ground. If you support Pete and his guns, so be it. Someday we will tangle, and I could be shot. Until that day, I hope Pete's machismo doesn't get some non-violent treehugger kid shot by a logger using Pete's Hollywood sizzle reel as an excuse, "I thought they were armed... "