Resistance instead of Christmas – Judith, Miriam & Maja

We, Judith Beadle, Miriam Meyer and Maja Winkelmann, are currently in the Munich correctional facility for the second time. In this joint letter we would like to explain why we are taking this upon ourselves and calling for civil resistance to continue at Christmas.

Judith:

It snowed last night. The trees outside the window of my cell in the Munich prison are white. A nice picture. For a brief moment I am amazed at the feeling of emptiness where I would otherwise have expected joy. And in the next second the anesthesia wears off and it hits me with full force. I miss my children! I don't resist crying over the lost moment of enjoying the snow with them.

Instead of being with my family, I'm sitting in prison - for the second time in preventative detention for the peaceful protest against the government's business as usual. Instead of adhering to the Paris Climate Agreement, which is binding under international law, our government is signing contracts for new oil and gas. Instead of acknowledging that we are in an acute state of emergency and that this is probably the last moment we can stop climate collapse, our society is collectively ignoring what is happening here.

Judith Beadle | Photo: (c) Marlene Charlotte Limburg
Judith Beadle
Photo: (c) Marlene Charlotte Limburg

Our protest brought a lot of good and thoughtful feedback, but also a lack of understanding, rejection, hatred and verbal and physical violence. And so I find myself in a state of deep exhaustion and I find it incredibly difficult to write this letter. I would like to write as usual with hope and confidence, but all I feel is fear. Fear that people will give in to repression again over the holidays, that it will continue like this next year, that the weeks and months will pass and we will suddenly reach the point where our last chance to save our future has passed.

What will it feel like to look back, in disbelief that we knew everything and chose to suppress it rather than act?

I miss my children and really hope that our protest is not in vain.

Miriam:

It's strange coming here for the second time. Everything seems familiar. I quickly fall back into the usual rhythm of eating, walking in the yard and more or less meaningful activities. Judicial officers greet me as if they were happy to see me again. This morning we built a (pretty ugly) snowman in the yard and for a while I was able to forget how wrong it all actually is. It strikes me again and again at other times: when I see a report on television about the deadly effects of the climate catastrophe; when Judith tells me that she can't really be happy about the snow because she would rather play in it with her children; when I remember that my favorite band is playing in Munich today and that I would love to see live again.

Miriam Meyer | Photo: (c) Marlene Charlotte Limburg
Miriam Meyer
Photo: (c) Marlene Charlotte Limburg

Why am I doing this to myself again? And why could it very well be that I sit down on a street again immediately after my release and end up here a third time? I often encounter incomprehension. The police point out to me in dangerous speeches that my behavior can have serious consequences for my future and ask me to stop my “dangerous behavior”. Every time I wonder why they say this to me, who causes a bit of traffic jam, and not to the government, whose fossil fuel decisions endanger billions of lives. 

The president of the island nation of Palau said we might as well bomb his islands. The UN Secretary General described governments that do not act appropriately in this crisis as criminal. It's a very wrong world we're living in right now, but no matter how many preventive arrests, fines and criminal proceedings it brings me - the only thing that's really dangerous for my future would be not to resist now.

House:

As soon as it became clear to me that our livelihoods and our civilization were under existential threat, every day was a mixture of fear, despair and disbelief that nothing was being done.

Didn't the government promise us to protect us? Didn't we have a global contractual obligation to take measures that would minimize the climate catastrophe?

Why is all this being trampled on, why are rights, treaties and constitutions being broken and those responsible not being held accountable? Instead, children, mothers, students and grandparents are sitting on the streets because, like me, they can no longer stand being part of this mass destruction.

Maya Winkelmann | Photo: (c) Marlene Charlotte Limburg
Maya Winkelmann
Photo: (c) Marlene Charlotte Limburg

I am not angry at the generations before us who could have already prevented the catastrophe. All I ask is that they now stick to the facts and the Constitution. We can be left with a world in flames, but continuing to add fuel to the fire and sending our and future generations to a slow, painful death is morally, politically and legally unacceptable. Anyone who takes advantage of this right at the expense of others will experience resistance. 

I don't want to sit in prison, spend the rest of my life in debt, and face the wrath of the street again and again. But I want even less to die or see my younger relatives, siblings or friends die.

I demand our right from the government and as long as it denies it, I will continue to do so, no matter what means it uses to silence us and sweep the facts under the rug. The world we all want is still within reach. Let's create it together.

 

What are we waiting for? The climate catastrophe is hitting us with a delay. It hits other countries first, and today's emissions won't cause a flood tomorrow. This gives us the illusion that we still have time. But we don't have that! Science tells us that we have to pull the emergency brake now so as not to exceed all tipping points and gamble away the future of humanity. If we wait until the next extreme weather events, food shortages or a collapse in energy supplies hit us here in Germany, it will be too late.

This may be the last Christmas we can do anything about. What is a missed Christmas as opposed to a missed life? We are on a very fine line with the decision: catastrophe or survival? 

It is still a decision that we can make ourselves. Let us show that there are many of us, that we are not giving up and that a future without billions of suffering is more important to us than a few holidays.

Next Christmas it might be too late. 

Let us take responsibility and do everything we can to protect our and all future generations. Doing the right thing, no matter what the consequences, what the media says, how silent the government is, is the greatest gift Christmas can bring this year.

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