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Promises

July 1, 2016

“It doesn’t take an expert to diagnose the whole stinking system. I talk to a taxi driver from Pakistan and they’re saying the same thing as me. Everyone’s feeling it. David Attenborough’s feeling it; all the people we trust are feeling it. Can we address it? Can we inhale it? Can we withstand it?” ANOHNI

There’s something to be said about what we feel when everyone’s feeling it and how we relate to each other and to grief.

Maybe that’s the silver lining. In violence erupting on the street we see beyond our bubble and we feel what matters to us. We want people to stop being so shitty to other people and we want the future to be less of this mad dystopian energy that Brexit released.

Knowing what we don’t want – experiencing what we don’t want – reading it on our newsfeeds, having it happen to people we know. It might be the start of figuring out what kind of relationships we need to build with ourselves, between each other, to address the stinking system and withstand it.

Because this is the mess we will spend our lives sorting out.  And it is probably just beginning.

One of the most serious promises I ever made was spoken between me and two others after we had known each other just 24 hours. We were together during the Ende Gelande action that shut down a coal mine and power station.

We reached a massive piece of mining machinery and climbed to the top of it. As we looked out over the vast open cast mine we felt overwhelmed by the fossil fuel industry and the absolute inadequacy of our resistance to it.

I don’t think I will ever see those two people again but this is the promise that we made:

“I promise that I will be there, physically or spiritually, as often as I can.”

One week ago we made public some ugly truths about ourselves, but it isn’t just Little England that we revealed. None of us exist in isolation and right now we are being bent into shape by our new awareness, our nationality, our shared humanity, the conversations we are having and the ways we are finding to cope.

How do I relate to myself in the world that is being revealed? And how do I relate to you – you whose fear is terrifying and in whose company hope – so slow and fragile – exists?

‘Everything starts as a story we tell ourselves about ourselves. Every political movement begins as a counter-narrative to an existing narrative.’ Jeanette Winterstone

I suppose it is worth saying that we don’t have to sit on social media all day. And that if we see hate, we can oppose its isolating power through the strength of solidarity and shared love. To be encouraged that each moment we choose not to be resigned to the facts, but to recover from them instead, we are more than ourselves, we are hope.

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