Thursday, June 16, 2016

Marching to Trafalgar Square

Shortly after I got back from London, I watched the Doctor Who episode where the plant life completely takes over the world and one shot is of Trafalgar square covered with greenery. I was like "I've been there!!!" That is not something I've been able to exclaim ever before during Doctor Who viewings since they are always either in England, another planet or another time.

While in London, I participated in a protest that marched through the streets of London and ended in Trafalgar Square. The protest was against trophy hunting and in support of Cecil the lion and his animal brethren. Trophy hunting is an absolutely awful human atrocity perpetuated against wildlife. Animals deserve to be free and to live their life. They do not deserve to be cruelly murdered by people looking to show-off. Humans need to leave wild animals alone. An elephant deserves to tromp across the plains without being stalked by greedy ivory hunters. A lion deserves to lounge in the sun with his pride without selfish hunters seeking his death in a disgusting show of half-baked machismo. Animals have autonomy, emotions and value as sentient beings living in our world. Blood thirst, greed and a desire for bragging rights should not be mistaken as conservation. What trophy hunters are doing is killing, not conserving. Animals should be respected, not killed.

Living in a world that condones killing animals for such frivolous and depressing reasons can feel discouraging. Hearing about all the animals being killed and generally disregarded and disrespected can make the world feel like a cold, uncaring place. Protests are a good way to counteract the feelings of hopelessness and sadness. Protests can be very empowering. You have gathered together with other people who also feel outraged. Together, you are making your voice heard. It is a good first step to change.

On the day I was there, another protest was being staged in support of women and to protest against cuts to women's services. The services being cut would most directly impact women domestic violence survivors in need of assistance. The group that was protesting was called 'Women Uncut.' It was amazing seeing all these powerful women together in solidarity. They marched down the street then gathered at Trafalgar Square. The group of women had a great cohesion. They were all in sync as they shouted chants demanding equality, support and recognition! Once they were at the square together, they set off colorful smoke bombs to visually announce their presence. At one point, a group of male police officers started walking toward the gathering. But a female police officer rushed over and told them to back off. It was awesome! The woman police officer was in solidarity with the protesters and new the male police officers presence would not feel helpful or safe. All the women involved in this protest were inspiring. You could see their passion and devotion to the issue in the determined expression ins their face and in the powerful roar of their protest chants.

It was an interesting hodgepodge the day I was there: Old beautiful statues right next to people wearing weird costumes and pretending to float. Protesters with gripped fists rushing pasts Santa's playing bag pipes. Lots of funny juxtapositions between the serious and the hilarious, the important and the mundane. This world is full of lots of little worlds sometimes, colliding and clashing and mixing together.

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