Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Jail and Justice: Canadian Style
Is it time for public civil disobedience on global
Submitted by Betty Krawczyk, Cumberland
nobody likes jail. Itís a terrible place. However, when one is imprisoned
because of oneís protest of rotten laws and leaders that are enabling the
resource corporations to destroy our planet (Harperís approval of Nexen take
over by China is the latest), a kind of power transfer takes place.
The powers that be (hereafter referred to as PTB), become just ever so
slightly afraid of you. However, when one is first arrested on a protest
line, taken to the police station, booked, and then given an undertaking to
sign, this undertaking becomes a matter of great importance to the PTB.
The undertaking is a promise you will not go back to the protest spot where
you were arrested. When this piece of paper is presented to you, if you
sign, you will be classified as posing no danger to the PTB and you will be
released. You will not be considered a threat to the PTB in terms of causing
possible national and international embarrassment. Signing means you have
more or less agreed that you were somewhere you shouldnít have been. Signing
means you will have to apologize to the judge when you stand before him or
her and be given community service work like any common criminal as
punishment. The alternative? The way to keep within your mind and heart the
power of the outraged citizen and human being that drove you to the protest
in the first place?
Donít sign that undertaking. Just donít sign. And when you are brought
before a judge plead not guilty. You will of course be kept in custody until
your trial. However, you status has now been changed. You are no longer a
pesky insect buzzing around the ears of the real people (PTB). You have now
been elevated to the title of POLITICAL PRISONER.
A POLITICAL PRISONER is one who is in prison primarily because they do not
agree with the usually inhumane route their PTB is taking. Canada is a
country that is not supposed to have POLITICAL PRISONERS and you will
terrify the logging and mining interests, the oil and gas corporations, fish
farm owners, developers and financial lending banks concerned with the
takeovers of public spaces, public parks, streams, rivers, and the
confiscators of farm lands along with the GMO food criminals.
Of course I understand that many people, okay most people, are in no
position to take the high road in the matter. Most canít. People have jobs,
there are children to be taken care of, rent and mortgages to be met and a
lot of older people have health issues. However, we are living in desperate
times. Anybody watching or listening to the international meetings on
climate in Doha, Qatar the last three days must have wept in frustration.
The main Philippine delegate to the conference also wept. On camera. Part of
his country is under water that isnít supposed to be. Unusual weather
patterns. He begged for the promise of some concrete action from the
developed countries to fight Global Warming.
He didnít get it.
The US not only refused to pledge more support to fight Global Warming, some
of the other delegates complained that the US encouraged other countries to
follow their lead. As another third world delegate put it, the US seemed
more intent on clarifying how to buy and sell carbon credits instead of how
to actually curtail emissions.
And Canada? Canada was as usual an environmental disgrace. But this time it
was particularly sickening because Environment Minister Peter Kent not only
followed the lead of the US but made this statement at Doha when noting that
Canada had previously pledged 1.2 billion over three years: ďTo maximize the
impact of our contribution, Canada has structured its fast-start financing
investments in a way that encourages private investment and innovation. This
will be a critical component of longer-term climate-change financing. The
successes we are seeing with our Canadian investments will yield key lessons
for the global communityĒ.
What key lessons? In hypocrisy? Delusions of Grandeur? That if saving the
world from climate melt down doesnít make money Canada isnít interested?
That Stephen Harper could hold China up as an excuse for refusing the Kyoto
Protocols at the same time join China in the monstrous pollution of the
Canadian oil sands? While the majority of the worldís most respected
scientists are pleading for all nations to heed their warnings? Is it time
to think about peaceful civil disobedience?
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