Tensions erupt over Hans Island

This article originally appeared in the Syrup Trap

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A polar bear eats a seal carcass in front of Hans Island, which is by far the most interesting thing ever to happen there. In fact, this isn’t even Hans Island. But would you know the difference? No. You wouldn’t. Because it’s Hans Island.

HANS ISLAND (The News Desk) — A long-simmering territorial dispute over an unremarkable island between two second-rate nations has finally erupted, causing worldwide confusion over where Hans Island is and why it matters.

Hans Island, the bitterly contested island between Canada and Greenland, is under siege from both sides of the Kennedy Channel within the powder keg that is the Nares Channel, and everyone from political scientists to Arctic historians have some idea what is going on.

“It was only a matter of time before things got heated up there,” explained UBC professor Michael Byers. “Everyone wants a piece of Hans Island.”

Ordinary Canadians were quick to claim to have any idea what was happening between the two northern nations.

“It’s got me worried, that’s for sure,” explained a visibly unsure George Anders. “You never know what can happen down there. Over there. Up. Whatever.”

The office of U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement in an attempt to diffuse tensions.

“Dear Sir/Madam,

I want to express my sincere congratulations/condolences/concern for the situation in YOUR LOCAL AREA. Please rest assured, ISSUE is at the forefront of my mind and that of the entire staff.”

Obama wasn’t the only world leader to wade into this murky issue.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to wrestle both Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Greenlandic Prime Minister Aleqa Hammond. If either leader survives, he or she will be allowed to keep the nondescript cold rock of Hans Island.

Among the international bluster, Hans Islanders themselves have spoken up, saying that they have no idea who any of these people are, and would everyone please be quiet, because there’s a seal over there. ♦

Photo via Jimmy Thomson

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