Friday, July 29, 2005

The War of 2007: On an accelerated schedule?

The War of 2007, an earlier post on this blog, may come sooner than we think.
At least, the war of words over Hans Island is accelerating.
Earthlink News has this report:
TORONTO - Canada and Denmark have taken their diplomatic tussle over a lump of Arctic rocks to the Internet with competing Google ads claiming sovereignty over Hans Island.
Some Canadians have called for a boycott of Danish pastries the way Americans disdained french fries when Paris declined to join the coalition forces in Iraq.
The diplomatic debate began Monday when Denmark said it would send a letter of protest over a visit to the 1/2-square-mile Hans Island last week by Canadian Defense Minister Bill Graham.
Graham stated Canada has always owned the uninhabited chunk of land, 680 miles south of the North Pole.
Denmark responded: "Hans Island is our island."

Toronto resident Rick Broadhead googled the matter and found an ad that touted Hans Island as Danish. "Does Hans sound Canadian? Danish name, Danish island."
Internet users clicking on the ad were directed to the Danish Foreign Ministry's Web site.
So Broadhead paid for his own Google ad and created a Web site to promote Ottawa's sovereignty. His Google ad leads users to a fluttering Maple Leaf flag and plays the national anthem.
Broadhead's Web site outlines Canada's argument that Hans Island belonged to the British and became Canada's in 1867. The Danes say it is closer to Greenland than Canada and is therefore Danish soil.
In 1984, Tom Hoeyem, who was Denmark's minister for Greenland affairs, caused a stir when he raised a Danish flag on the island, buried a bottle of brandy at the base of the flag pole and left a note saying: "Welcome to the Danish island."

The Danes aren't happy at all about it. They've even put an official statement on the Foreign Ministry Web site.
In a conversation today (July 25) with Canada's ambassador to Denmark, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted with regret that the Canadian Minister of National Defence had paid a visit to Hans Island without prior notification of the Danish Government. At the meeting the head of the Danish Foreign Ministry's Legal Service handed over a note to the Canadian ambassador reiterating the Danish Government's regret.
Could this be the start of something bigger?
Stay tuned.