So today is Day 70 and I will try to update in words this evening (I'll get to roadside this afternoon) - my daily blog has been hindered by too much demand on time and energy to always get round to it... I had thought that with so many livestreaming and image gathering that it was pretty well covered now anyway (in the early days of Jan/Feb... we were still finding our ways to get our story out and gather others to help us and I blogged more then)... but others on Twitter and elsewhere who do not keep up with Facebook have messaged to say that if they're not on Facebook, they aren't uninformed so I'll try to resume & put on the blog and Twitter too :)
It's hard to face any of this some days but impossible to walk away - those who have hit low points or encountered difficulties with the harsher sides of being an activist, have had to drag ourselves to be at roadside or sometimes even just opted out when it got too much. Now though we can't... no-one can - if we're to stand any chance of stopping this.
Nothing is normal about anything at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest - nothing. To get up and KNOW that your day will involve conflict is horrid and to then go anyway.. feels absurd. But... to get up and KNOW that if you and a whole lot more other people DON'T face it... then we damn our children to ill-health and worse. Whatever we feel about facing the conflict - we are needed.
In the early days when the road traffic management was in place and just a single-lane operated... it was possible to find our sense of community and each other's warmth as we grew our numbers - now though as the very busy road has opened back up and the site is progressing (3 months behind schedule though - drilling originally in planning for March - now not till June)... and worst of all, the policing has become over-reactive and hugely intense and intimidating, the mood and tone is indeed much darker. But the odds were I suppose that it was always going to be this way.... sadly the tragic, emotional witnessing of it all - leads some to turn to each other and lay blame.
Fellow Protectors look at each other for better answers, more hours, better tactics, more effective actions, the way to stop what's happening ... we question ourselves (and some accuse others) about if what we've done was good enough, would others have done it better, was the task of stopping this site helped or hindered as a result of actions and so on. We need to stop this, we're only bloody human and the FACT of us being there and doing the best we can, should be enough to earn us reprieve from accusation... plus it serves only to divide and weaken us; which is of course what is desired by any industry manipulators.
I posted an article earlier about a PR company and the dirty deeds it does for clients and if you want to research along these lines - you'll find exposes on how protesters are disrupted, infiltrated and movements squashed by what they refer to as 'the dark arts'. Not a conspiracy, just a fact of what big business does to protect itself from loss of profit. When we first met the frackers here in Lancashire in 2011... a firm called PPS was the PR Agency fronting the story for Cuadrilla - a Channel 4 Dispatches programme from a few years before shows the levels they stoop to including infiltration, listening-in and disruption with activist groups. We are challenging the energy sector - the biggest industry there is (is the arms trade bigger? I'm not sure) - and when you consider that it is just you and me opposing them and we've done well for 6 years of stopping them... they are going to respond with all they can.
Lovely others have asked if we're doing ok... we're not. We're watching the build happening and every day this causes pain and fear. Of course we're not ok. Taking a break though is NOT an option right now and we need to be at the roadside, in our Councillor's and MP's offices, at planning meetings, with our groups,on the phones, sharing online and reaching out to suppliers or protesting them if they fail to understand... what we can't do it stop.
Please don't sit this one out - even if it pains you to get involved... what we leave behind if we fail, is far worse than any harms to us as individuals now.
On the plus side... the best part of ourselves as part of humanity is what is working when we are Protectors... there is no greater beauty in any of us than this bit <3 span="">3>