I am happy to report that the most ridiculous war of all time is finally over, after about 50 years of wrangling. And to think they were battling over an absolutely useless uninhabited island without minerals or anything of value.
The war—well diplomatic dispute is really a better world—over an island half way between Canada’s Ellesmere Island and Denmark’s Greenland was waged over Hans Island. The name says it all. Who would fight for control over Hans Island? Canada and Denmark that’s who.
The dispute engaged 26 previous Canadian foreign ministers who had nothing better to do. And they fought at our expense. Canadian and Danish taxpayers paid for the diplomats to tussle.
Now Canada and Denmark took great pride that they settled the border dispute without war. And they bragged that this is what Russia should do too. All of that makes some sense—at least until you look at the facts. The fact is that Hans Island has no value whatsoever. That is why it is named after me. No one wants it or cares about it. Except the Inuit.
In fact both Canada and Denmark are illegitimate colonial powers who have no rightful claim to it. The only people who actually ever used it were Inuit hunters who used Hans Island as a staging platform for hunting. No one lives there. No one else actually uses it.
Over the decades, Denmark and Canada left each other whiskey bottles as a joke after they visited it. Some called it the “friendliest of all wars.” It could just as well have been called the stupidest of all wars.
Thank goodness it’s over. It should be named Tarupaluk, because that is what the Inuit call. They should have it. Neither Canada nor Denmark deserves. It. I renounce my right to have it called Hans Island. It shows only how two colonial powers can settle an absolutely trivial dispute after 50 years of negotiations and threats of legal action. That is an example for the world? Give me a break.
Many people don’t know about this but for decades Canada and Denmark have been “fighting” over a tiny island off the coast of Greenland. Denmark owns Greenland. Donald Trump tried to purchase Greenland but Denmark refused to sell. He should have made an offer for Hans Island instead, but probably did not want to tangle with Canada.
Hans Island is a tiny uninhabited island—no more than a big rock really—in the center of Kennedy Channel of Nares Strait off the coast of Greenland. Like Hans Neufeld the writer of this blog, Hans Island has no apparent natural resources and is essentially worthless. Yet astonishingly there has been a decades long dispute between Canada and Norway over ownership of this tiny island that no one with any sense would want. It has no oil and is located precisely on the agreed border between Canada and Greenland, but sort of by accident this little island was left out of the boundary agreement. The island has no apparent natural resources of mineral, oil or natural gas, but still, there is an ongoing territorial dispute between Denmark and Canada over who owns the half-squared mile of the rock.
This “war” between Denmark and Canada has been one of the most unusual in the history of warfare. For the past 3 decades each country has repeatedly placed a flag on the island claiming ownership and yet welcomes the other country to the island with a bottle of hootch. I kid you not. Canada leaves whiskey and Denmark schnapps. This is exactly how two friendly countries should fight a war and Hans Neufeld is enormously proud of the fact that this is how the battle has been fought over his namesake island.
In 2006 a student got into the act. He was a Carleton University student who announced he had set up the Government of Tartupaluk and declared himself “The Reigning Prince of Tartupaluk.” Since no one inhabits the island there was no one to challenge his claim or oppose it, but his claims sadly seem to have been forgotten. As well recently there were some self-declared “Indigenous” Hans Islanders, called Hans who claimed ownership. These people said they wanted other to come to live on the unpopulated island. I wish I had been consulted by these two Hans as I would like to have a chance to put forward my case for this island. I could be “President for life of Hans Island.” Or perhaps I could be Emperor of Hans Island.
Recently I heard the two countries have agreed to share jurisdiction over the island. I don’t know what it means, but I guess this means war has been averted. It could easily have led to World War III so that is a very good thing. History would have been very different if world wars had been fought like this. I say, let ‘Let Hans show the way.’
This is particularly important on September 11 20 years after 9/11 which led to the longest war in American history for no apparent purpose. There is a better way. Hans Island proves it.
Frankly, old guys, like should not have too much excitement anymore You never know what will happen. Last night in the storm we had some real excitement. We were sitting quietly at home last night meeting with friends on Zoom. The only way we can meet these days. We noticed the rain and wind pick up. The wind felt like a tornado. Then briefly this incredibly huge tree that had been in our backyards for decades caught the wind and crashed down. A tiny box of flowers remained on the outdoor table unimpressed, but this giant succumbed to the forces of nature. How the mighty can fall. .
I say it crashed down but we never even heard it. We were extremely grateful that it very narrowly missed our house, just nicking the corner of our garage roof and gutters. This was about the only place this tree could come down on our lot without causing major damage. Had it crashed into the house it might even have harmed us. Too close for comfort.
Like Paul Simon said “It was the time of miracle and wonder.”
Some of you may have been alarmed yesterday when you tried to access my blog and found it was shut down. Some of you may have thought that the government has shut me down for instigating terrorist acts. I am not on the no-fly list, at least to the best of my belief. None of that is true! I am not like Tobia Tissen the local pastor of the Church of God Restoration who has gone into hiding to avoid being served with an arrest warranty.
I am happy to be back in the business of blogging again free from interference from the forces of darkness. Reports of my death have also been slightly exaggerated.
When I tried to access my blog yesterday I could not access it. I assumed of course that Canada’s security forces, or perhaps the CIA, or perhaps the forces of darkness want to shut me down. Also not true.
It was negligence on my part in failing to renew my license. Nothing more sinister than that. Freedom lives.