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Arrival of the Rainbow Warrior
From Legend to Reality
Story by Kultida Samabuddhi
Photos by Chaichana Jaruwonnakorn
Click to Bigger     Members of a fledgling Greenpeace got the name of their first vessel, Rainbow Warrior, from an old Cree Indian legend which says "When the world is sick and dying, the people will rise up like Warriors of the Rainbow...." On July 10, 1985 the ship was bombed but its cause continued with a new ship and a slogan: "You can't sink a rainbow."
    Rainbow Warrior arrived for the first time in Thailand as part of Greenpeace's Toxic Free Asia Tour. It came with international crew, safe-suits for collecting soil and water samples, polar bear costumes for campaigns and demonstrations, paint and wood for signs, and hundreds of banners in several languages--English, Spanish, Russian, Polinesian, French, Tahitan, etc.--with messages "Whales and oil can't live together," "What we burn today we breathe tomorrow," "Solar energy is the answer."
    But behind all the action are actually campaigners in the Marine Division onshore. It is they who do the research and come up with the idea of planting "Stop releasing dioxin" signs around the waste incinerators in Phuket and the idea of collecting toxic ash from the sites and delivering them to the Japanese embassy as a message to Japanese funders of dirty technology.
Click to Bigger     Although many critics who are bored with the same campaign tactics and their growing ineffectiveness begin to see the Greenpeace slump in popularity as its midlife crisis, it is the organization's own members who give the strongest criticism, among them, "It is not smart merely to attract the attention of media," "[the crew] should not be here as 'tourists' but as another Greenpeace activist," and "What are we doing about the problem that most Greenpeace members are white, Western and speak only English?"
    The journey of this ship never ends, the trip photographer observes as Rainbow Warrior leaves southern Thailand and heads toward Bangkok, another in its long list and history of destinations. A ship full of legends once again sets out to create more legends.

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