Today is turnaround day for many people all over the world. For many more it is the same old same old unseen injustice but today there are people stepping up and using their voice.
It is the first day of Trump being president of America and there are so many wrongs with that, I think that most sane thinking people will agree with that. I guess his wrongness is way more blatant than previous people and it makes it a great deal easier to rally against than the subtle wrongs that have gone before. What will come of it we don’t know but there are people rising up to say their piece and that can only be a good thing as long as it is done in way that is intelligent and fruitful.
There is much talk of free speech. I know that whenever people have cornered me about refugee speak and I have said that their views are not acceptable then the age old ‘But everyone is entitled to free speech’ sentence is hauled out of the unimaginative box. Of course everyone is entitled to free speech but that is not the same as hate speech. One is legal and the other is not. To wish death and ill upon another fellow human based upon their place in this world is hate speech. It is vile, disgusting and, quite frankly, terrifying. To have an exchange of differing views is useful, this is free speech. I know that I tend to move in circles of like minded people out of choice and it is interesting and a wake up call to be called into a discussion that shows different views. Not an argument, a discussion. An argument is about who is right. A discussion is about what is right. There is a fundamental difference. It is never right to wish bad stuff on a person, or a group of people based upon religion, colour, place of birth etc. It’s just ignorant. There may be reasons and those reasons are often personal i.e you were mugged by someone. In which case it was one arse of a person doing something wrong to you, they do not represent a nation or a religion or a group of people.
I have no idea what will happen from today, as do most of us. Trump is one man probably having his puppet strings pulled by a whole load of other crazy people. Putin is one man. Assad is one man. None of them can operate alone, they require a whole team of people and whole nations to be behind them. By going on a march and using our voices we are openly declaring that we are not part of the team driving all these insane actions, that we are prepared and ready to actively oppose. By keeping quiet you become part of the team driving the Trump et al chariot. As Desmond Tutu said, ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.’
Another quote recently shown by my dear friend Hilary and written by Naomi Shulman says: ‘Nice people made the best Nazis. My mom grew up next to them. They got along, refused to make waves, looked the other way when things got ugly and focused on happier things than ‘politics.’ They were lovely people who turned their heads as their neighbours were dragged away. You know who weren’t nice people? Resisters.’ So a whole bunch of not nice people are marching across the world today and having their voices heard.
I am setting off today to meet with my fellow truckers and am driving a truck to Greece. I did this in the summer and was the only woman truck driver that we came across in Europe so I gave myself the title of Mother Trucker, which makes me sound slightly more badass than I actually am, which pleases me. There is another woman on the journey this time and that pleases me too. We are driving a few trucks full of aid to the 65,000 plus people still stuck in Greece. I first went to Calais in August 2015. I first went to Greece to volunteer with refugees in November 2015. The narrative has changed considerably during that time. I was called a volunteer in 2015 and now I am introduced to people as an activist. I’m doing exactly the same thing but it is now seen as an act of rebellion rather than an act of charity. That is the narrative that is happening around our ears. The frog slowly getting boiled to death in his own water without even realising.
So, apparently, I’m one of those not nice people. Thank heavens for that and I have so much and so many people to thank for that. A long long line of ancestors who were also not ‘nice’ people, I have some well worn footsteps to walk in. I thought I would try and write a bit of a diary of mother trucking across Europe over the next couple of weeks or so as internet and everything will allow. So, dear fellow not nice people, keep marching and shouting and writing and drawing and singing and doing whatever and I’ll keep trucking…