Friday, 27 December 2013

The Artic 30 are free

This means a lot to me.

The question for me is would they do it again. I sincerely hope so otherwise Russia would feel that they have won. We need people like Greenpeace who will put their lives on the line risk severe pain from persecution. It's a hell of an ask but this is my philosophy. I decided to put my life on the line for what I believe in. It's true that it puts my friends underpressure because in some cases they become vulnerable and I choose to take this under consideration. Risking your life for what you believe is very liberating and makes you ask some very important questions about what life is all about. I believe we need a lot more people who feel this way and have experienced the benefits to our inner peace/confidence when we have got to this point. It leads us to choose very carefully what we take on: however many situations in practice aren't so terrifying as they seem when you've been through them. Our society, I believe, is riddled with fear. When you risk your life, your fear serves a purpose it achieves a result - lots and lots of results - it's a great feeling. Try it in a very small way next time there's an opportunity. The least threatening and the wisest is to simply ask a question. "Excuse me do you mind telling me why you've chosen to park on that double yellow line?" The worst you'll get is "Fuck off and mind your own business" and then they move. People don't like being put on the spot. Once you done this a few times you are able to carry this kind of thing off in a relaxed way, which is very important. Being in the presence of ex policeman and friendly Phil Hopwood taught me a lot about quiet confident action. I love his motto "Just soldiering on". One of the things this great guy left behind when he died.

Hi Geoff,

They’re free! Just moments ago, Arctic 30 activist Dima Litvinov got on a train home to Sweden.

Exactly 100 days since they first took peaceful action at Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya oil rig, the first of the Arctic 30 is leaving Russia. The others will follow in the coming days.

It’s thanks to you they are free. After hearing the news he would be going home soon, freelance journalist Kieron Bryan said “People in this country don’t get bail, it doesn’t happen. When we got bail, that’s because of the pressure put on the Russian government by everyone supporting us. If it wasn’t for that, I know I’d have spent Christmas Day in prison.”

Every email, every vigil, every protest during the last three months has kept the eyes of the world on Russia. Millions of us around the world joined together to free the Arctic 30 and protect the Arctic. While the injustice of the last three months is now over, the enormous threat to the Arctic remains.

The Arctic 30 sailed north to bear witness to a profound environmental threat, they protested peacefully at that oil platform because they knew an Arctic oil spill can’t be cleaned up, and they know the danger posed to the Arctic by climate change. They took part in civil disobedience because sometimes actually doing something - taking a stand - is the only course of action open.

Today we celebrate the freedom of the Arctic 30, tomorrow the fight to save the Arctic goes up a gear. As the Arctic 30 received amnesty, Gazprom began production of the first oil from beneath the icy Arctic seas - and with Shell poised to return to the Alaskan Arctic next year, the threat to this beautiful and fragile region has never been greater.

But with millions of us standing together, the movement to protect it has never been stronger.

While in Russia Arctic 30 activist Camila Speziale said: “Am I ready to continue fighting for my beliefs? Of course I am.”

They're ready. Are you?

Ben Ayliffe
Head of the Arctic Campaign

PS Shell have a new CEO - Ben van Beurden - starting in January. Tell him to start his new job and the new year by ditching Arctic drilling and ending their deal with Gazprom.

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