It’s interesting to compare the reception of the two tall ships, Esmeralda and Pallada, during their recent visits to Victoria. Both are magnificent vessels and we are lucky to have had them visit here.
But the Esmeralda is treated to protests and vitriol by people who may have a legitimate grievance against the government of General Augusto Pinochet. But they choose to express that grievance against an inanimate object and its crew which, years after the fact, have had nothing to do with the Pinochet regime.
The Pallada, by contrast, is given an enthusiastic reception and centre stage in the harbour even though Russia has one of the most brutal and repressive histories of any country one can imagine. The Pallada is also just a ship and the crew have no responsibility for Stalin and some of Russia’s other brutal leaders.
If protesters are looking for symbols, they should be ecumenical and “equal opportunity” in their choices.