Humans of XR Scotland: Callum and Mikaela
October 16, 2019
Callum, student and Extinction Rebellion Stirling rebel, describes his experience as one of the duo who stayed locked on for 14 hours in an attempt to hold the PowerInTruth site. At 5am, he was the last rebel arrested.
He wrote this moving account for ‘the encouragement of rebels still standing strong in London’:
‘When I arrived in London five days ago, I had no intentions of taking an arrestable role. Keen to avoid a cold jail cell, my ambitions were instead fruitful roles of support. I wanted to help those braver than I and hold the Scotland/North East/Cumbria site for as long as possible. I wanted to be amongst the news and throw my hands into the positive, peaceful action. So when I arrived that’s what I did: I helped talk to the public and held banners, content with what I was doing.
However, after spending two days with some of the most inspiring, intelligent, and brilliant people I have ever met, as Site 6 dissolved under the oppression of the police, and as I sat surrounded by the peaceful harmony of rebel voices, I felt compelled to lock on.
To do this, I had to move quickly into position before the police could remove the concrete tube that would hold my arm in place, and so I did. Sliding my arm into the tube, sat opposite me was an older gentleman aged sixty-seven. A humble man of certain intelligence and profound wisdom. He winked at me and nodded approval. We clasped hands. I was glad to be with him.
After watching me take place opposite my comrade, the police knew that I was not chained or glued into the tube and so first checked I wouldn’t be easily pulled free and then attempted to convince me to let go. Neither of which worked. For me, it was not chains or glue, but the will to hold on that truly mattered. To tightly hold on to what I believed in; a simple act for the body, but rather more difficult for the mind. Perseverance, determination and integrity.
But, I have to say, during that long night there were moments in which I wavered. Moments where I was forced towards questions with difficult answers. Why were we locked on? Did it mean anything to hold on? Would we regret letting go?
In the end, after a long spiritual conversation with my elderly comrade, we came to the conclusion that yes, it did matter that we held on, if not for anyone but ourselves. To prove in our own hearts that we were doing the right thing. Little publicity would come of this, it was the dead of night and the only disruption was to the six or so police officers that watched over us. But, yes, it did matter. We proved to ourselves that our care for the fight was a care unfaltering and true.
I can only hope that what we did would encourage more rebels to hold on as well. To hold on, and to not lose strength. Doubt might come, in the dead of night, but let it pass. What will remain is the passion of your character and the memory of your perseverance. To the rebels still protesting, you are all beautiful people. Stand strong on the right side of history.
Much later that night, with swollen hearts, we listened to the reading of our rights, and intentionally let go. We placed ourselves into arrest and crossed the bridge with no return. It was a symbol of passion, and a feeling of tranquillity. I have no regrets. I am proud to be involved with such an honourable movement.
And, do you know what? Maybe we are crusties… But I’d rather be a crustie than in the dark, and I think we’d all rather be happy. So I stand with these people proudly, I stand with the side that hopes.’
One of our Scottish rebels, Mikaela Loach, gave a brilliant account of her experience of the first week of the International Rebellion in The Herald.