One of our programme highlights is Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s Angry Inuk. The documentary is about the Inuit seal hunt controversy. It offers a glimpse to the life in the Arctic and into a culture that will disappear with this rate sooner than later. You don’t need to take sides. It is enough that you are aware of a different story.

What do you see when you think of seals? A cute white furball with the big black eyes, right? What do you see when you think of sealhunt? Do you see people clubbing tiny seals to death? There is a difference between killing animals with mercy or cruelty. One could ask if any killing is ever merciful. How can you change people’s opinion about the seal hunt when it has been rooted in people’s minds forever? Have you ever considered that what you see might be propaganda, or do you think that there is an absolute truth out there?

Directed and written by Alether Arnaquq-Baril, the film shows another side of the seal hunt, the Inuit side. Inuit don’t hunt harp seals; the ones with the shining white furs. When they hunt, they don’t hunt only for the fur, but for everything. They eat the entire seal and use the skin either for themselves or they sell them. Selling seal skin seems to be one of the few ways that Inuit can still make money from in Arctic. As they themselves say, seal is their cow. If you are allowed to raise cows and chicken and eat and sell them, shouldn’t the Inuit be allowed to do the same with their locally available resources? Or does the raising part make all the difference? Animals in the wild should be left alone?

EU banned all seal products in 2009. The ban excludes Inuit hunting. All the animal rights organisations say that they don’t condemn indigenous hunting. But if there is no market, there is no need for supply, or is there?Who in their right mind would want to live in the Arctic in the first place?

Economical equality is possible right here and now, but the riches are devided between a selected few. Equal and fair are not the same things. Unfortunately they seem to be synonyms these days. The Inuit hope that they could get their voices heard, be it in the EU parlament or a discussion with animal rights activists. They want to preserve their culture and not be blamed for doing so. It is not an easy task. It is as if the Inuit have become invisible. There is a scene in the documentary that explains the Inuit Anger, it’s quiet and not explosive. “If someone upsets you, you’d insult them with a satiric song. Then they’d take a turn with the drum and tease you back; you go back and forth until laughter releases the tension.” But there seems to be no dialogue here, so the Inuit become angrier and louder by the minute as they try to let their voice be heard over social media and particularily, in this film.

 

Angry Inuk (Please note, no rerun!)

Sat 11.03 10 pm Plevna 2