Global Newsletter # 37: Girls just wanna have rights
March 13, 2020 by XR Newsletter
This issue, we celebrate the incredible courage and kindness of women everywhere, from the Republic of Congo to the bridges of London, who are standing strong to honour each other and the Earth.
If you haven’t already, check out this powerful video of women performing the protest dance called ‘Un Violador en Tu Camino’ (A Rapist in Your Path) for International Women’s Day.
We take time to consider the very serious and ongoing threat that Coronavirus (Covid-19) poses to our activities and the planned Waves of Rebellion. Rebels have been working tirelessly to find a path which seeks to protect life, support the most vulnerable, and draw our communities together in a time of crisis.
‘Business as usual’ has been disrupted with a shocking jolt, and people everywhere are called on to do what we can to slow the progress of this pandemic.
Advice from healthcare professionals and experts is to limit social contact and self-isolate to slow the spread of Coronavirus. Rebels are encouraged to hold meetings online wherever possible, and to think carefully before organising in-person gatherings.
Slowing this virus down will make a big difference to how well we can care for people who are affected. By limiting our contact with others, where possible, we can relieve unnecessary strain on healthcare providers and save lives.
As rebels, we can choose to engage with and support our local communities in this crisis. This is an opportunity to prefigure the world we want to build: one that chooses life and regeneration over despair and fear.
Read the global XR response to the CoronaVirus (UK update here), join the Community Action Telegram broadcast group for the latest info, and check out the WHO advice for more details on how to protect yourself and others.
Elsewhere in today’s issue, XR Italy kicks off the wave of rebellion with some beautiful disruption at the Venice Carnival. Who knew blindfolds, lock on’s, and dancing went so well together?
Also, we turn to Canada which has seen widespread civil disobedience for over a month now, initiated by the Indigenous Wet’suwet’en chiefs, in protest of a multi-billion-dollar pipeline.
We catch up with rebels in Hong Kong who are rising like the hungry seas, and take a look at the recent victory in the UK – where the Heathrow airport expansion plans have been deemed illegal on the foundation of the Paris Agreement.
In our XR Unchained this month, you’ll find an barrage of rebellious ingenuity from around the world, including-but-not-limited-to: umbrella protests in Indonesia, oil-rig hopping in New Zealand, and further rumblings in Russia!
Take good care, rebels.
XR Youth Belgium disrupt a ‘must-attend’ aviation summit at the Eurocontrol headquarters.
If you’d like to see previous newsletter issues, you can find them here.
This Rebellion needs your support. If you can’t give time, please consider giving money.
Mother Earth Mothers Us
8 MAR | Across Uganda, DRC, Nigeria & The Gambia
Rebels highlighted how climate and ecological breakdown will impact women and the poorest communities the most. Women, such as those in Bududa, have been left ‘without anything – homeless, helpless, hopeless by unpredictable rains, floods and mud slides.’
Their situation is made worse by prolonged droughts, higher temperatures, increased crop failure, loss of livestock and increasing food insecurity.
The Mbale march also focussed on the need for access to quality education. When breakdown and instability hit, more children are forced to abandon their education and more girls are pressured into child marriage.
The brave women of Uganda are refusing to stand by and watch their future and their children’s future be lost. To achieve Climate Justice, we must focus on Social Justice.
Indigenous women in XR Hewa Bora surrounded a park warden camp and demanded an end to climate rape and sexual violence in the forest.
XR Abuja celebrated International Women’s Day in Nigeria and held discussions around the challenges women face as a result of the climate crisis and the need for equality.
Breaking Waves at Venice Carnival
20-25 FEB | Venice, Italy
The first Wave of Global Rebellion hit the canals of Venice last month, with rebels from across Italy carrying out a series of spectacular actions during the city’s annual carnival.
The protests kicked off with a blindfolded flash mob performance. Blindfolded rebels stood in solemn silence as a speaker called on the carnival revellers to open their eyes to the climate crisis, and join their rebellion.
Two days later, hundreds of rebels flooded the busy Venetian streets for a spot of joyful discobedience.
The next morning, a group of rebels blockaded the Ponte dell’Accademia, a bridge spanning the city’s Grand Canal.
The lock-in marked one of the first high-risk actions for XR Italy. Tensions were high as the rebels fitted into their arm tubes, but thanks to heartfelt chants and open dialogue, the blockade continued without violence.
Venice is made up of more than 100 islands inside a lagoon and has already suffered extensive damage from the climate crisis. Much of the ancient city is flooded year after year.
Will Venice become our next Atlantis?
Yet the Italian government and local authorities have still not declared a climate emergency. Without major policy change, the UNESCO world heritage site appears doomed. Or as the Italian rebels put it: ‘There’s no carnival under the sea’.
Indigenous Pipeline Protests sweep Canada
FEB | British Columbia, Canada
Photo by Darryl Dyck / Canadian Press
An ongoing surge of civil disobedience rolled across Canada in February. Protests began in British Columbia, where Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs blocked railways to protest the construction of a multi-billion-dollar pipeline through their unceded territory.
After disturbing reports of forceful removal by police (as well as possible illegal restraint), these actions gained traction with Indigenous and solidarity protestors.
Meanwhile, in Ontario and Quebec, Mohawks disrupted rail networks; in Vancouver, 38 people were arrested for blocking access to shipping ports; in Toronto, 37 were arrested for bringing the city’s Union Station to a standstill at rush hour.
Photo by Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock
Much of this burgeoning civil disobedience has taken inspiration from the initial actions of the Wet’suwet’en chiefs, with the focus point of strategy being rail blockades. This has caused disruption to construction work, passenger and freight transport, and to the Canadian economy at large.
The impact of this story has extended far beyond Canada with protests gaining support from groups all around the world.
‘Cheers to the end of the world!’
1 MAR | Lamma Island, Hong Kong
Dining in the South China Sea, Lamma Island, Hong Kong
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, XRHK staged a ‘dinner party’ off a Hong Kong Beach among the waves as a reminder that – even though the media has shifted its attention to the coronavirus – we are still facing catastrophic ecological and climate breakdown.
With the coal-fired Hong Kong power station as backdrop, rebels impersonated the 1%, “cheering to the end of the world as we know it, partying while climate change and associated natural disasters already kill the poorest and most vulnerable.”
Specifically, rebels intended to highlight Hong Kong’s vulnerability, as a coastal city, to sea-level changes, and the city’s lack of a viable strategy to address the looming crisis. “The adopted strategy – to replace one fossil fuel by another, in this case coal by natural gas – is, while less carbon-intensive, ultimately highly counterproductive,’
Heathrow victory for Earth protectors!
27 FEB | London, UK
Plans to expand Heathrow airport were ruled illegal because they clashed with the government’s commitments to tackle the climate crisis. The government must now either make a new proposal that is in line with the UK’s environmental targets or withdraw it entirely.
This exciting ruling by the British Court of Appeal has global implications. It is the first time that climate targets made under the Paris Agreement have carried legal weight.
The success of this court ruling gives some hope to the implementation of the Paris targets. If any other of the 188 nations that are party to the Agreement now green lights a high-carbon infrastructure project, there is a legal precedent to challenge the decision.
There are far too many beautiful and courageous actions happening around the world for us to cover in each issue. Please have a read of our XR Unchained to catch up on the stories that we couldn’t squeeze in.
27 FEB | Jakarta, Indonesia. Living out the Indonesian proverb “Sedia Payung Sebelum Hujan”, meaning “prepare your umbrella before it rains”, local rebels painted a menagerie of messages and slogans on a multitude of umbrellas before marching.
7 March | Oslo, Norway. This winter is one of the warmest Norwegian winters in modern times. Extinction Rebellion went skiing in Oslo to highlight the consequences of global warming. Three brave activists were arrested.
See full XR Unchained here.
Join the conversation.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) is a serious health crisis that is deeply concerning to many of us. If you are interested in what you and your local group can do to support your community, join the Telegram broadcast group and online Community Action webinars held by the UK team. There is an online webinar tonight (Friday) at 18:00 GMT and one tomorrow (Saturday) at 11:00 GMT.
UK rebels, check out this update for the latest info on how Corona will be affecting XR UK’s May action plan.
IST Renamed GLOBAL SUPPORT
The International Support Team (IST) has been renamed Global Support in order to better reflect the global, borderless network. Global Support is here to provide XR groups with the resources to start and the support to flourish, through training, funding, tech infrastructure, and more.
Be Part of XR PartDem!
XR PartDem (Participative Democracy) was launched in late February 2020 as part of XR Global Support.
XR PartDem invites rebels to a Global Networking Space where there is an opportunity to listen to each other’s stories on participative democracy in the context of climate and ecological justice.
Wherever possible, these meetings will be conducted in languages other than English (with simultaneous interpreting into English), in order to allow global rebels to be free to express themselves, unrestrained, in their mother tongue.
Every Friday at 17:00 CET. Join the sessions though Zoom.
You can also join our working group to help with trainings, meetings, admin, emails, and so on. Please contact the PartDem team here: XRInt-PartDemocracy@protonmail.com
As part of an XR UK Regen M&M Listening and Storytelling project, XResilience was launched to tell the stories of regenerative cultures flourishing, and flying, and also – stories of how we can do better. How we can make this movement even more beautiful.
Today we bring you: Kazu Haga, a Kingian Nonviolence trainer who has facilitated restorative justice groups in California prisons for twenty years, who dedicates an entire chapter of his new book, Healing Resistance, to nonviolence as martial art.
- Climate Emergency Declarations in 28 countries
- Climate Catastrophe: why radical interventions are needed now
- Power structures, gender and climate change
- The assassination of Mexican Indigenous Earth protector
Sarah and other London rebels blocked Waterloo Bridge for 2 hours on Women’s Day to highlight how climate change disproportionately affects women around the world.
Sarah Mintram, former teacher and member of the XR Global Support Team:
“I was raised by a family of strong working class women, both white and women of colour. In vulnerable and marginalised communities it is these women who are the backbone and support that keeps everything going.
As the climate crisis makes life harder it will be the women who bear an even greater load so this was for my mum, grandmother, sister and aunties who taught me to never grow a wishbone where my backbone should be.”We are receiving amazing human stories and we want to know yours. To read more – or to write your own – join our Facebook group.
Thank you for reading!
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This comic first appeared in The Hourglass – Interested comic creators should send their work to firstname.lastname@example.org