Monday, May 15, 2017

Streets of Fire (I)

  Here are some snippets, big and small events from my life as a radical political activist and enthusiastic human being.
  The first few major protests I attended was in Oslo in the eighties, among them during an official Margaret Thatcher visit. In a statement to the media she said with her usual «flair» that Norwegians did everything to make her feel welcome, like she was at home, including protesting against her.
  During one protest one of those hot Oslo summers, I watched four cops gang up on and beat up a young girl. Several people protesting that act was also arrested and brutalized.
  I was never truly an integrated part of the activist/squatter «Blitz» group, but among the many coming from all over the country in order to support them as best we could.
  In Copenhagen in 1988 I attended yet another protest where the police attacked us unprovoked. Many were arrested and taken to a small, fairly small station used to cage protesters. The evening ended up with a small group of protesters setting fire to that station and all the protesters escaping custody. Very few of the protesters I spoke with felt bad about that.
  We had all realized years ago that the usual establishment media headline: «protesters attack the police» was pure bogus and establishment propaganda. No protester with his/her wits intact would even dream of attacking a superior force in armor and armed with clubs and shields and worse.
  I had moved to London and was further radicalized, thriving in an environment filled with subversives…

  The five years I lived there, where I wrote my novels Dreams Belong to the Night and ShadowWalk were among my best ever. The street theater, the squatted house, the downright inspiring group I was a part of all conspired to make it so, constantly stoking my already burning heart. We encountered Jeremy Corbyn among many other great people during the many protests outside the South African embassy. We celebrated Thatcher’s fall, Nelson Mandela’s release from prison and a lot more. The first witchnight of ours was celebrated with abandon in Hyde Park in June 1988. There would be many more all over the world, both small and big in terms of scope and attendance in the decades to come.

No comments: