Courage and the underpants

Yesterday morning as I put my underpants on I thought – if I get arrested today I am going to be wearing these for a long time. I had been doubtful if I wanted to be arrested with all the cosy joys of Christmas coming up, and one of our ducks going to be sacrificed for Christmas dinner. (I mean I am not going to eat Mr Duck but the whole Halal slaughter by the new lodger seemed a shame to miss.)

But by the time yesterday came I was ready for arrest. This had not happened accidentally. A whole movement of people has been in place to waken courage in Paris this week. Peaceful, non-violent action, not by the drilling of soldiers but by the unleashing of creativity. Almost constantly at the ZAC Zone Action Climate there have been young people of colour dancing. Swivelling on their heads, coasting through the space, weightlessly praising life, body and music. What genius put that in place?

dancer solutions

This has been no grey-headed discussion zone, but circles have formed from people far and wide to explore dirty mining, mad deforestation,  mighty food-growing resilience and much more. Art and music have fed the discussions and young men and women have fed us with tasty organic food on the street. And our courage has grown.

Courage is there in the Wonder Tales of Storytelling – check my website to see many projects linking courage and stories for young people today.

So by the time we got there, prepared for tear gas, pepper spray and legal actions I felt mildly disappointed that the French powers had legalised the protest. Though they made the right decision. Between the Arc de Triumph and along the Avenue de l´Armée we formed a red line. Symbolic of red lines which cannot be crossed if human and animal life on the planet is to survive. I can´t describe the wealth of creativity which was unleashed. Among the thousands were Norwegian grandparents against Climate change, hundreds of cyclists from many parts of Europe, a kilt wearing Scottish cyclist of 72, groups of clowns, polar bears etc etc.

red angelss

And the climate guardian angels who we met later in a Paris café toilet – they have come from Australia.

Some particularly beautiful banners came in view, swimming in the wind. As I approached them I saw they were salmon. Each one hand painted with the prayers and hopes of people of North West Coast of America. Being as I am involved in a storytelling project from Norway about Salmon we agreed to join them and help bear their many fishes.

IMG_20151212_143816Leading them a man from the Indigenous peoples there. As we followed him ceremoniously he played a large flute which scored into our hearts as to the immense seriousness of what is going on here. The wind filled the silken fish to dance. We passed by a couple of crazy Santas dancing to reggae music, the classical statues of Paris arrayed in red for the occasion, a long, long line of people bouncing a ball along a long red ribbon and countless other wonders. We stopped midway in the Avenue de l´Armée. Paul Cheoketen began to speak and tell stories.

Salmon man speaksWe were surrounded by the last stragglers, most of the thousands were on their way to the Eiffel tower by now. One of the crazy Santas cast off his beard and threw himself to the ground with his microphone to amplify Pauls word. He told us that we are not here for ourselves but for our children. He told us that his people had foreseen this time and he told a story. A story of bones, as many of these stories are. Of how if we take care of the salmon bones and return to the river the fish will do well. We carelessly scatter them at our peril.  Paul and his people make sense. We live in a world, not of lone humans but of a wondrous multitude.  Last night I dreamt that a tiger jumped onto my knee and I stroked it.



Active Angels in Paris

There is a state of emergency here. How much will we dare to do? Yesterday we sat in a room stuffed with activists from all over the world. She called out: ´Stand up if you are a woman who can vote.´ Most women stood up. ´Stand up if you have weekends off work.´Most men stood up, and she carried on like that til we realised that all the things we were standing up for were freedoms given to us through activism.

So how can I not want to be active when so very much is at stake? Well Christmas is coming you know and I have made a Christmas pudding for the very first time in my life, now that Mum has turned 90. Then there is the celebration of Yalda, the longest night of the year when the Afghans will be gathering, its the night of storytelling, can I really miss that to languish in a French prison?

ice coffin 2

Here is a coffin of Ice, carried by men from the Andes as they played a mournful march. This action seems noble, so respectful, so right. How can it be at all that we are forbidden to make peaceful protest at this tipping point of global history? Most people I have met so far are young, peaceful and prepared to be beaten.


At the triple action we attended the other day a few went into the Louvre itself and spilt oil, they were arrested. Then the climate angels appeared, I hope you can see how very beautiful they were. After that those of us who had got through the search were attracted by a row of black umbrellas and joined them singing: ´Oil money out of the Louvre, Move, move move.´

Lets see what courage is found in the next days…