[142] XR in Brisbane (1)  – Dangerous Silence

This blog is part of a series on the global Rebellion Week of Extinction Rebellion; I report out of Brisbane, yet the actions take place in all capital cities in the world. 

‘Damn, the action has been blown up,’ he says. His eyes are juggling between his phone and the street. We’ve been walking fast to reach the event of the morning, yet it has been unveiled by the cops before it even took place. ‘Too much risk to get immediately arrested.’

We’re Wednesday October 9thand in the middle of the International Rebellion week organised by Extinction Rebellion. While the world is warming, wordwilde activists take the street to declare the climate emergency, and moreover to declare the inactions of the politicians.

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Silence(d)

It is time for civil obedience, they claim, time for telling the truth and acting upon it. Yet, the politicians remain in silence, while silencing the activists by arresting and imprisoning them.

‘It is the only way left,’ it sounds by various rebels on the streets. ‘We’ve been signing petitions, we’ve been marching in the streets, but nothing has changed.’

For over 3 decades now our leaders know what is going on, yet none of them acted upon. 2018 still released more carbon dioxide in the air than the years before. The global carbon footprint keeps rising, as do the sea levels, while the artic and the rainforests are shrinking. We are digging our own graves, and the people on the streets are sick of it. They want to rebel against the extinction that lays ahead of us. They want to demand action, starting by telling the truth.

But even here, in Australia, they are silenced. Moreover, the premier of Queensland Anastasia Palaszczuk has decided to speed up the law to imprison these rebels immediately for 2 years if they lock down streets, bridges or public places by using locking devices. The devices are considered as dangerous. Since she considers them as endangering for society, she decides that she can endanger democracy by taking a shortcut to pass this law, and by silencing the people taking the streets.

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(En)danger(ed)

But the rebels don’t give up. They know why they are taking the streets. They know why they are locking their selves, blocking the public space. They know that the danger that is really ahead of us, and what is really endangering humanity; not only of the Queenslanders but of the entire global population.

Yet, the governor of Queensland says she does enough to protect the Reef and the climate. Surprisingly Queensland’s forests are at the moment of writing burning, while the Reef is dying. She does enough, she says.

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Yet, it is obviously she does not, as the entire world; she keeps watching how we are burning the house, taking some measures that are bandages rather than treating the causes. One day we’ll become vegan, the other day we fly less; yet Big Oil and Big Coal can continue their process of digging, burning, polluting, suffocating, harming, and eventually in the long term killing all of us.

They are the saints of society. With total impunity and without shame they walk into international climate conferences dictating the outcome. During the COP24 in Poland they reduced the IPCC 1.5 degrees report to a footnote of history, rather than taking the necessary actions to prevent this inferno from happening. During the last IPCC report they took a long time to question the report, delaying and undermining the credibility of it. They do it, just because they can. And others allow them to do so.

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All-encompassing

So, the Rebels take the streets. They demand for justice, not only for climate justice, but for a more just world in general. They demand for radical change, not only for stopping burning oil and coal, but for changing the entire system that requires people to consume, produce, use, spill, waste and eventually destroy the planet.

So, I run with them on the streets. I pitched my articles to three different media, they all last-minute have blown of the cooperation. Not done, even in freelance journalism. Did they blow it up, because they are concerned about what to write? Or are they biased as well by the corporate and political interests. Are they afraid about what is going to happen, or are they only willing to pull the movement down?

I don’t care. I know they are wrong, and there might be a wide variety of reasons why. But I continue broadcasting on the podcast, and on my own news channel. I continue getting up at 5am to prepare the day, and I continue to running over the streets for more than 12 hours a day. I do care.

I talk to a variety of people, young and old, high-educated, not-educated, working in high-profile jobs, not-working, mums and grandfathers, childless youngsters, people out of the city, people out of the countryside. All of them are standing here together, because they are all involved. As we are all. As you are all.

A long road

The police presence is increased, they are everywhere, eying the activists. They have unveiled the planned action, so it will be removed. Location unknown. While walking back to the streets he receives a message that the trains are blocked. Either by the activists, either by the police not to bring in more activists.

The city is burning, as are more than 60 cities across the world. In London yesterday over 500 people got arrested. For occupying the streets non-violently and asking for justice. Talking about justice.

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We continue our road, back towards the base camp. In the road I talk to other rebels about how the situation looks like in Australia at the moment. About the injustice that has been done and is continue to be done to local communities, to the Australian people; and moreover the treats to democracy by buying the media, by increasing police forces, and by allowing certain corporates to set the rules, while the rules set by politicians shrinking the democracy and freedom of press and of manifestation.

It is a long road back to the base camp, as it is a long road to climate justice; with many obstacles. As police forces are eying us wherever we go, so are the politicians releasing new laws to hinder us to move. The rebellion started right on time.

[To be continued]

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