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Articles from the Peace News log: Europe

Articles from the Peace News log.
For articles in this category from the whole site, look here

A report from the anti-militarist gathering in Sweden

ImageFor the last week of July along with other pink clothing we took a dayglow pink dustpan and brush to help sweep up the militarisation in the north of Sweden and make it NEAT. We went to join the ‘War Starts Here’ peace camp to protest against the development of this into part of an ‘Arctic NATO of the Baltic Countries’. This heightened activity in North Europe is explained by an increased interest in the Arctic and its natural resources and the US missile defence system.

Ofog and WRI organise this pink event brilliantly so that altogether people from 17 countries were able to participate in the mass action on Tuesday 26th July at the boundary of the prohibited area of the largest military testing range in Europe. In the last two years Ofog [an early Swedish word meaning mischief] had had previous manifestations at NEAT, the Northern European Aero Testing range, but this was by far the largest action they had organised in this relatively isolated northern part of Sweden 150 Km north west of the town of Lulea. We were transported there by two coaches, five minibuses and 15 cars. It was a marvellous sight seeing this convoy making its way to this militarist site. Altogether 190 people plus those who set out the evening before, were involved in this pink event. I felt it was really symbolic to use the colour pink against the war machine.

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Rai Ko Ris, a punk band from Nepal, toured Europe last autumn. Frontwoman Sareena Rai describes how the anarchist scene surprised her.

ImageRao Ko Ris in Paris

 

“WHITE MAN DESTROYS CULTURE” is printed in big letters on a sticker at a venue in West Germany where we played. This phrase became my “theme” as we continued to tour throughout Europe. I realized how just reading about stuff or about people’s lives is simply not enough. There’s nothing more important than meeting people from different worlds. I talked a lot about how white man may have destroyed something in the past, but right now I felt that white people can give something back by teaching folks like us the tricks of parallel existence in new capitals because you’ve gone through it and we’re just entering it, and we need hints or tools on how to cope with the shocks.

Also, people are inspired by song. I was amazed when a big long-haired metal head in denim who organised one of the shows came to hug me afterwards, with tears in his eyes, saying how much my words about having sympathy for people living in the fortress and having to fight moved him. Just days before his city had come to a standstill when the National Bank was occupied by workers’ resistance. I was amazed and humbled when I saw the anarchist booklet we managed to translate into Nepali displayed at an infoshop in Amsterdam. I was amazed that someone who lived in his truck in Europe would want to drive us around Europe for two out of the six weeks for free because he totally supports what we were doing. And what were we doing? Meeting, talking, singing, eating, dancing. These are important elements that inspire resistance.

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Rai Ko Ris, a punk band from Nepal, toured Europe last autumn. Frontwoman Sareena Rai describes how the anarchist scene surprised her.

ImageRai Ko Ris in Paris

 

One of the most amazing things that struck me was that 95% of all the shows were organized by people who were just hitting 40 or were beyond it. We were amazed to see such necessary collaboration between ages and sexes. I was sure we were going to be the only oldies (+37) at each show but in fact it is mainly “the oldies” keeping many underground venues and squats going.

I was totally inspired by that.

In one city in France I met three women who all played music or sang in at least three different bands, all above 40-years-old. They were politically active, loosely associated with different solidarity groups – one of them is also apparently a history teacher.

There was such a variety of people from different backgrounds and experiences that were pretty much doing the same thing, but not together.

People in more organized anarchist circles commented how having tattoos and wearing anti-fa badges and “beating up” nazi skinheads was just a macho load of shnoof. However we talked to folks from East Germany who said their lives depended on their display of violence. When you’ve got nazi skinheads walking down your street who are out to attack any liberal-minded punk or queer, you have to be ready. For both men and women, the tatooes and spikes were their armor to defend themselves.

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Rai Ko Ris, A punk band from Nepal, toured Europe last autumn. Frontwoman Sareena Rai describes how the anarchist scene surprised her.

ImageRai Ko Ris in Paris

 

Much of my time in Europe was spent drinking… drinking tons of their best herbal teas and not-so-good chalky hot water. It was not until I got back to Nepal that I thought, maybe that chalky stuff all boiled up and hot probably didn’t help my voice recover one bit.

Drinking alcohol is big in Europe, I decided. There is no party without a drink. And there is no gig without drink. There are band names about drink; there are band names named after beer, or drinking, or about being drunk, or having a hangover.

If I listed them that would be my 2000-word article for ‘Pissed News’ right there. And show organizers make more money from selling beer than selling tickets at the entrance to a show, so I can’t argue.

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Rai Ko Ris, A punk band from Nepal, toured Europe last autumn. Frontwoman Sareena Rai describes how the anarchist scene surprised her.

“To exist as a band without the corporate music industry is in itself a political feat” – sticker stuck on a wall at a venue in North Germany

Sitting in a village on the edge of Kathmandu happily listening to the Subhumans, I had this yearning to go to Europe.

A good friend of ours from Holland calls the West “the fortress”; he said the people, the culture, and the way the whole place works is like a fortress, sealed and intimidating. I agreed with him and so why would I want to leave my six-year-old son behind for six weeks to travel in hostile territory? Not for work, nor for a better life, or for fortune but because I am “virused” and I am a little punkish.

In 2009, we got an email from somebody who’d been following our band for a while, asking us to gig at some shows for a festival organized by the ministry of culture in Denmark, all expenses paid. Though the other half of my band (my partner, who is also the drummer) was totally sceptical about a government-funded offer – the fact that some comrades of a similar “virused” nature happened to be part of the organising committee gave us confidence that we weren’t going to become sell-outs just yet.

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Dariush Sokolov reports from No Borders' camp

Image25 June 2010, Steenokkerzeel by the airport outside Brussels, 60 people occupy the building site of the new 127 tris immigration detention centre, shutting down work for a day, taking direct action against the construction

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