To the Editor:
I’m disappointed and offended by Mark Lee’s article [from last week], painting the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) and the makers of the film, “The Cove,” as racist. I’ve personally volunteered with Sea Shepherd for years and have met many of the top members of the organization (including head Paul Watson) and can guarantee that they are not racist toward any country whatsoever — especially not toward Japan!
The allegations that SSCS promotes a racist agenda toward Japanese people is deeply hurtful to those of us who frequently visit Japan for pleasure and especially for the Japanese members within the organization. Mark Lee has apparently not been reading the recent news reports of Scott West and fellow Cove Guardians who worked to rescue survivors from the tsunami in Otsuchi or the many blogs written by Sea Shepherd volunteers praising Japan and the Japanese culture for its progressive attitudes and enlightened perspectives.
This issue has never been about Japan, Norway, Iceland, the Faroes, Canada, or Australia.
The issue has been about protecting our planet’s wildlife. None of us feel that Asians are, as Mark so recklessly puts it, “a convenient scapegoat for the white American media.” I would encourage Mark Lee to have this conversation directly with Paul Watson before he uses your publication as a vehicle to make such bold accusations. I’m sure that Mark would change his opinion of Sea Shepherd, had he taken the time to speak with them.
I think the biggest shock was that this article came from a fellow Seattle resident. I love this city for its multicultural nature and am fortunate to live in Georgetown, just a short distance from the International District, where I frequently visit. Seattle is the most tolerant city I’ve lived in, and it is for that reason that I will likely never leave.
— Rex Ray, Seattle