Thursday, May 19, 2005

G8 Conference

I've recently been invited to join some friends who are planning on getting a coach to help the "Make Poverty History" campaign in a rally at the G8 Conference in Edinburgh. Getting a coach from Warwickshire to Scotland will take ages! Transport in this country is prohibitively expensive. It's crazy. Someone at my work is flying to Amsterdam for about £2, but to get to Edinburgh from Birmingham & back is £89. Logic?
I was there at the G8 in Birmingham in 1998. I remember it well. I was taking part in the Jubilee 2000 campaign. I was angry because the G8 leaders changed their plans and escaped to Weston Park for the day, so the protest was only received by lower ranked representatives. I was also a bit peeved because when we passed by The Atlantic Hotel, one of the US snipers who were posted on the roof (as protection for then President Clinton), aimed at me with his rifle when I waved up at them!
On the positive, it was a really powerful and moving experience to be part of, and what's more it WAS for a worthy cause. There were in the region of 80,000 of us standing in a circle, round the International Convention Centre. There was a massive unified roar of defiance from the crowd for about 5 minutes. We then began chanting "Cancel the Debt!" for another 10 minutes. the petition was received and we made our way out.

This year, there will be even more momentum, because the Live Aid 2 concert will be happening around the same time. So the people of the western world will be very much aware of and focused on the "Make Poverty History" agenda.
I've never been north of the border believe it or not, so I also have an ulterior motive to go. However going on coach seems a bit of a long haul to me!
I encourage any of you who can make it to take part in the protest. Even if you can't do that, pray about it... and if you can't do that, then make sure at some point in your lifetime you take in some form of political protest... everybody should do it at least once, it's quite exhilarating.
Choose your causes wisely though.
Besides, if you put your name to ANYTHING remotely political in this country, you get your very own dossier at MI5! OK so admittedly they probably don't have more than an A4 sheet on me at present, but it's fun to be thought of as a little subversive.... keep 'em on their toes, that's what I say!
For anyone who thinks doing something like this is a waste of time, I leave you with this scripture from Ezekiel 1:4-8 to ponder:
The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says.' And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you."
We don't engage in fierce debate on the grounds that we might win, we challenge those who oppose us because the cause is righteous.

Or as Babylon 5 put it:
"Tell the other rangers, the ambassadors, everyone in this army of light. Babylon 5 stands with you. Tell them, tell them that from this place we will deliver notice to the parliaments of conquerors that a line has been drawn against the darkness and we will hold that line no matter the cost." - Sheridan to the Rangers: "The Long, Twilight Struggle"

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