Virtual Protests Stay Virtual


This is something that has bothered me for a long time.

Facebook.

Yes, facebook and social media in general can be an essential tool to spread awareness and information, and to organise ourselves, but just as with everything else, it can be a double edged sword.

Now most people are clued up about fracking. Three years ago when out delivering and handing out leaflets, the repeated phrase was “Whats fracking?”
Last year when delivering leaflets about seismic testing that was coming up in my area, the repeated phrase was “Is this to do with fracking?”

We have, by and large raised awareness about why this should be of concern. Now, what do we do with that awareness?

Time to get active, and this is where social media can be a huge drawback. How many times have we seen viral threads saying something like “comment on this thread and share it or the baby will die of cancer”?
Surely, anyone with the ability to set up a facebook account has the intelligence to realise that commenting on a facebook thread will not cure anyone of cancer. Yet something happens to people, to *us* when we log on. These threads get thousands of comments and likes.

The same thing happens within the frack free movement. A local ‘frack free…’ page  or group can have hundreds of members.  TWC global rituals have thousands of groups participating… yet when it comes to something like delivering leaflets, or holding a stall (let alone anything more demanding) it always falls down to the same few people to do the work.  Sometimes events or skillshares have to be cancelled due to lack of interest. Everybody knows that hundreds of people saying they will attend an event doesnt guarantee a good turnout.

Surely not everyone is busy on the day? Surely not everyone has some last minute catastrophe at home that stops them getting out?

Sometimes, numbers count. Sometimes, being able to share a photo afterwards showing that lots of people took part counts. Sometimes it just makes a simple job that much easier and quicker to have many hands.  And always, numbers matter to the people who have taken the time and effort to organise things.

Just recently I read this article about how social media has hampered political action in Syria. The same can apply to us here and to many situations.

“More importantly, social media created the illusion that one can change and challenge the events on ground by being active online. Aleppo has been severely bombed since September 2015 with the Russian intervention. This year, when news erupts that the situation is catastrophic, thousands of Syrians around the world protest … by changing their Facebook profile picture.

People react virtually while not much is changing on the ground. The number of actual protests on the ground for Syria had declined by 2013. The feeling that social media gives you that you’ve done your bit by posting online is one reason for this demobilisation.”
 

 

Here in the UK nobody is organising a revolution , nobody has been shot or detained by security forces whilst delivering leaflets, but the same thing is happening here.

As pagans, as human beings, who have heard ‘the warrior’s call’ , please don’t respond with only a ‘like’

I’ve looked back on the frack free campaign, and realised, its three years since the first blog post was made on this website, and still we are repeating the same message.

Many druids among us will be familiar with these words that start our group rituals…

“We gather as equals, in our physical form here upon the earth. Each presence is a blessing, and with every breath we take, we breathe light and life into this circle”
As pagans,  we should not be compartmentalising our lives. our spiritual lives should enhance the physical and the mundane. We should be striving to be whole and complete in all we do. So mote it be. 

 

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