Artist Matt Crookshank, struck by the absurdity of the Canada vs Denmark spat over Hans Island, e-mailed Greenland's foreign affairs minister, Josef Motzfeldt, as a joke. (Greenland is a self-governing territory of Denmark, which claims sovereignty over Hans.) Not expecting a response, he adopted a light tone and was amazed to receive an immediate answer. Rating: NNNNN
Dear Mr. Josef Motzfeldt, what a fun spat over such a lovely rock. I think I shall make that the grounds for my retirement palace! With a nice big ice rink in the middle so Canada can whip Greenland's ASS at hockey. It's our island now, eh! xoxo
Motzfeldt: What is your background? Just continue to follow up your government's fata morgana [mirage], it's not a question about military force. That kind of primitiveness is over, colonizations, occupations. For us here in Greenland/Denmark, it's [about how] to solve the question in a civilized way, not by your government's insecurity with the Canadian people's criticism of Mr. Martin's administration. The question is not domestic, it is international. Have a good afternoon.
Crookshank: I have a better idea! Let's make the island its own country, and I'll be the supreme theological ruler. Isn't it great, now we fight over northern islands in the thought that one day we'll want to hang out there cuz the rest of the planet will be totally ecologically fucked? Maybe we should have an arm-wrestling match to solve the issue? Oh, and STOP KILLING OUR POLAR BEARS! (It's our island.)
Motzfeldt: Mr. No One, you still call the island Hans Island. That's proof enough that it's part of the world outside Canadian territory. Our ancestors named the island for Tartupaluk thousands of years ago. Good night.
Crookshank: Touché! You make a good point. I didn't know the island was called Tartupaluk, or that your ancestors named it. I promise from now on I will call the island Tartupaluk. But for argument's sake, we are not talking about warships sent from Greenland, but instead ones sent by the Danes, who also call the island Hans. Does that mean that you also think the Danes are occupiers? In Toronto, my ancestors called a street Crookshank Lane, but later someone else changed it to Bathurst Street, which sucks. So look! We have something in common! Yours in jest.
Motzfeldt: All right. It is much more interesting for you that your family name is on. So wishing you well, I assure you that street names and territory disputes are like apples and blackberries.
Crookshank: I don't know if you looked through my website, but I'm an artist in Toronto. All this back-and-forth and me playing bumbling foreign policy has been really fun. But after learning of the true nature of the island and the fact that you took the time to respond at all, I feel humbled. So I should thank you. I have four tickets to Iron Maiden, playing at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto. Of course, I can't afford to pay your airfare, but I can offer you two free tickets to see Iron Maiden with me. Iron Maiden is fitting because they often wrote about Vikings and Nordic invaders. I'm sure you would find their lyrics (attached) ridiculous, and we could laugh and critique them together over some beer (eh!).
Motzfeldt never responded to the invitation.