This week

Civil Disobedience


Maria’s Midweek Mindfulness 


the Wednesday Whisper


Jailed for protesting

In July 2017 a convoy of lorries delivering drilling equipment to a fracking site was spontaneously brought to a halt by protestors. Four people climbed to the top of the lorries and between them remained in occupation for 99 hours, supported by locals.  In September 2018 they became the first environmental activists to receive jail sentences for staging a protest, in the UK, since 1932.

Activists have previously been given jail sentences for charges related to their protests, like breaking injunctions and contempt of court. In this case the judge claimed they had caused disruption to people unconnected to the fracking as a justification for imprisonment.

Let’s look at that. No one is unconnected to fracking. Some people, like myself, choose to take no notice of the topic. I do, however, take notice of the removal of the right to protest non-violently because what if I wanted to protest about something I consider to be important? In the words of Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

The point is that as bystanders we have to stand up for people being physically persecuted even if we disagree with their views. For a democracy to work, all citizens must trust they have the means to be heard. Civil disobedience is an important part getting heard when our leaders are not listening. We have to stand up for the need to be heard.

I learn a very important lesson from this ruling: I can no longer trust my government to protect my right to protest.

Maria’s Midweek Mindfulness

This week I am speaking in Malta about conflict resolution in diverse communities in localities where migration has created pressure points. The need to be heard from everyone affected is overwhelming. I hope the Dialogue Road Map can bring a fresh perspective.

The Wednesday Whisper

Who in your life needs to be heard? How do you get heard?


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