In all of the petty exchanges between Sea Shepherd and the Faroese this summer, the Sandoy Toilet Paper Crisis was probably the biggest and the strangest.
It all started when the mayor of Sandoy, Brandur Sandoy, posted a sign saying that Sea Shepherd was no longer welcome to use the facilities. He claimed that Sea Shepherd had been misusing the facilities and had stolen toilet paper and other items.
However, I have not read that he had any evidence for these claims. And the way that in.fo wrote about the closure made it sound as if it had more to do with opposing the Sea Shepherd organization’s work than about a scarcity of toilet paper.
“In addition to using and misusing the hall, they have also stolen toilet paper and other things in the building,” he said.
Brandur Sandoy, who is also a member of parliament, personally thinks that the government has been unbelievably passive on the topic of Sea Shepherd, which he is seizing.
“We win nothing by letting ourselves be oppressed and watch, while Sea Shepherd drives the pods of pilot whales back out to sea, so we can’t get them.”
Brandur Sandoy says, that he plans to do that which is in his power to do in order to show the parliament that the Faroese in the question of Sea Shepherd ought to have been handled otherwise than it has been until now.
(- Umframt at tey bæði hava brúkt og misbrúkt hølini, hava tey eisini stjolið wc-pappír og annað í húsinum, sigur hann. Sjálvur heldur Brandur Sandoy, sum eisini er løgtingslimur í samgongu, at landsstýrið er ótrúliga passivt í málinum um Sea Shepherd, sum hann tekur til. – Vit vinna einki við at lata okkum kúga og hyggja at, meðan Sea Shepherd rekur grindirnar út á hav aftur, so vit ikki fáa fatur í teimum. Brandur Sandoy sigur, at hann ætlar at gera tað, hann er mentur, fyri at vísa løgtinginum á, at føroyingar í spurninginum um Sea Shepherd áttu at havt handlað øðrvísi, enn gjørt hevur verið higartil.)
In response, the Sea Shepherd land crews on Sandoy denied the claims and said that while there was a shortage of toilet paper in the facility, it had nothing to do with them and they had in fact been bringing their own toilet paper to use there.
The Sea Shepherd members then bought 200 rolls of good toilet paper and tried to give them to the mayor of Sandoy. They claimed the move was a goodwill gesture, but the way Paul Watson wrote about it made it clear that it was intended to humiliate the mayor. He titled the post:
The Great Sandoy Toilet Paper Scandal
Or How to Deal with a Constipated Mayor who is Simply Full of Shit.
Paul Watson then spent several paragraphs mocking the mayor for misspelling the name of the organization on the signs, where it was written “Sea Shepard.” As far as I know, Paul Watson does not speak or read Faroese, but he felt that it was fair game to mock a Faroese person’s spelling in English.
“Amazing that he could not spell Shepherd being that he lives on a group of islands called Faroe and Faroe means “sheep” and there are more sheep than islanders in the entire country. For future reference Mr. Mayor think of Sheep herd and simply drop one “e” to get Shepherd.”
He then wrote that when they tried deliver the paper,
“Mayor Brandur was not very grateful. In fact he was downright grumpy and seemed to be somewhat constipated, which of course was understandable, seeing the hygienic pickle he was in. He locked himself in his office or maybe his bathroom and would not come out, hoping that every one would go away.”
“Yes, they were here in the municipality, but they got the same answer as before — that they are not welcome to use our facilities. That, which they had brought with them, they were asked to take with them again when they left.”
(Jú, tey vóru her í kommununi, men tey fingu sama svar sum áður – at tey ikki eru vælkomin at brúka fasilitetirnar hjá okkum. Tað, sum tey høvdu við sær, vórðu tey biðin um at taka við sær aftur, tá tey fóru.)
The mayor said that the facilities in question were being closed anyway, now that the peak tourism season has ended.
In a letter to Oyggja Tíðindi where he argued that even bad publicity for the Faroe Islands is better than no publicity, Ingi M. Helmsdal wrote the following:
“Shortly after there was a grind on Sandoy, and the police sent many helicopters and officers to support the grindadráp, but truthfully also to search for the vanished toilet paper roll, and we have heard, that a diver found this roll on the bottom of the sea, unused. The foreigners undoubtedly felt threatened, and therefore they threw the toilet paper in the sea without using it. Today it is quite valuable, and could doubtlessly be resold abroad.”
(Stutt eftir var grind á Sandi, og løgreglan sendi fleiri tyrlur og løgreglufólk fyri at stuðla grindadrápinum, men sanniliga eisini fyri at leita eftir horvnu WC-rulluni, og vit hava hoyrt, at ein kavari fann hesa rullu á havsins botni, óbrúkta. Tey fremmandu hava ivaleyst følt seg hótt, og tí hava tey blakað WC-rulluna til havs, uttan at brúka hana. Í dag er hon sera nógv verd, og kann ivaleyst seljast fyri mill. Uttanlands.)
When it becomes very difficult to separate truth and satire, you know a situation that started out silly has really gotten ridiculous.