NASIVVIK By Zebedee Nungak,
Windspeaker Columnist; Archives 2006
Nasivvik is an Inuktitut word that means vantage point. It can be a height of land, a hummock of ice, or any place of elevation that affords observers a clear view of their surroundings to make good observations.
Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney has taken up the cause of opposing the hunt of harp seals on Canada's Atlantic coast. Wearing bright orange floatation suits, he and his wife staged a photo opportunity with a harp seal pup on the ice. They didn't seem quite sure how to pose near the live pup, which was serving as their prop. But there they were, props themselves, publicizing the message that harvesting a sustainable resource is a terrible thing.
"Dear Prudence!" I thought, "How can Sir Paul be given a Ticket To Ride on The Long And Winding Road to Get Back to where he once belonged, and Let It Be?" I couldn't see any poetry in a wealthy member of British nobility lending his profile to tell the world that lovable little seal pups are being slaughtered by a bunch of cruel Canadians.
Animal rights crusades in past years have succeeded in crashing the seal market, decimating the commercial harvest of seals as a viable livelihood in the Inuit economy. Inuit have been living the results of collateral damage caused by the sensational anti-fur campaigns of famous people. Fame and fortune have been used as a weapon to assault the circumstances of people who need every bit of a break to eke out a living from the resources in their environment.
There's Something In The Way Sir Paul passes the camera, and casually says, "Stop the seal hunt!" which causes an Eskimo to think ... Well-monied celebrities always need causes to be attached to. Why not help them find other work? Sir Paul McCartney need not be a Nowhere Man without a cause if he can be guided to other causes where he can be just as useful. So ...let's see...
Millions of domestic animals are killed every year to feed and clothe Sir Paul's countrymen. Even if Sir Paul himself does not contribute to this consumption by never wearing leather or eating steak he cannot deny that a lot of killing of animals goes on. If animal rights advocates define cruelty to animals as being caused by their slaughter, they need not look far for something to crusade on. There's plenty in their own environment to get worked up about.
Cattle are turned into leather and processed into hamburger, pigs are turned into bacon and ham, and chickens into barbecued meals at fried chicken outlets, and eggs for breakfast. "Stop killing cows, pigs and chickens!" might be a more appropriate battle cry for Sir Paul and his like. There's enough work for them closer to home, Eight Days A Week and they wouldn't need to suit up in floatation gear to go about it.
If Sir Paul wants to save animals from real cruelty, he should look into zoos, circuses, rodeos, and racetracks. Who knows what suffering tropical animals endure while they are captive in climates which include winter? How are polar bears and walrus kept cold in confined areas in tropical heat while thousands of curiosity seekers gawk at them through a grated fence? Are captive animals fed properly? Sir Paul should be intensely curious about such matters!
Why haven't any crusading celebrities ever thrown themselves in between a cowboy on a galloping horse, and a fleeing calf about to be lassoed in a rodeo? Calves have their neck throttled with a rope, are picked up by all four legs and violently thudded down, landing on their spine, upside down. All to determine which cowboy can wind his rope around its legs the fastest! Where is Brigitte Bardot when such things need looking into?
For his efforts of being photographed with a seal pup on an ice floe, Sir Paul got to be confronted by Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams on the Larry King Live television show.
If he takes up the cause of farm animals, owners of McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken might be less civil than Premier Williams in defending their interests.
Animal rights crusading celebrities should also be obligated to visit the Arctic, and see first-hand what devastation their handiwork has caused among the Inuit. Education here can work both ways, as Inuit try to learn what makes an animal rights crusader tick.
It's easy for Sir Paul McCartney to wield Maxwell's Silver Hammer to drive home his opposition to the seal hunt While His Guitar Gently Weeps for the harp seal pups he goes to be photographed with. Sir Paul once sang, "Give Ireland Back To The Irish". Perhaps somebody can compose songs he can sing for these times: "Leave Sealing Be To The Sealers", and, "Very Sorry! This Is Really None Of My Business."
Animal rights campaigns can result in weird spin-offs. Imagine... here I am, thinking up alternative work and song ideas for a Beatle!