Shocks, lies and videotape
|Glorious Fitzoy pool|
As I packed my watermelon slices yesterday afternoon and headed off to the Fitzroy Pool precinct, I reflected on just how appropriate it was that our Tunnel Picket workshop should be held there. After all, but for a sustained community protest two decades ago, the historic pool, constructed for the workers of inner-city Melbourne in 1908, would have been demolished.
Approaching the pool, I stopped as usual to admire the new pro-public transport mural, which was commissioned by Yarra council, and adorns the pool complex.
The meeting itself was held in the room where I attend yoga, with our wonderful teacher Andrew, every Saturday morning. On entering, it was all I could do not to drop into a dog pose.
The meeting itself was terrific. The 3 hours flew by as we discussed how the campaign was going, shared our experiences, overted differences, brainstormed directions for the future and applauded our victories. I came away buoyed by the whole event and proud to be part of such a diverse, creative and thoroughly committed group.
So I was utterly shocked to receive an email from Jill this morning. Attached was an article, written by the Herald Sun reporter Alex White, about our meeting.
Normally I never read the Herald Sun because I find its scurrilous reporting of our campaign brings me down. The headline: EW Link protestors admit they are losing the PR war and plan to bring children to future demonstrations was so inaccurate that it took my breath away.
In fact, over the course of the meeting, we had delighted in sharing evidence of how we are winning the hearts and minds of the public. As to the other claim - that we plan to bring children to future pickets - this was simply a suggestion made by a newish member about her intention to bring her own children - a suggestion that nobody else took up.
The other shock for me is that, at what I took to be exclusively a meeting of friends, there was obviously a reporter there in disguise, bent on distorting what she heard to villainise us. Shame Alex White! But it makes sense of what I heard happened a couple of days ago - that the police pushed all the citizen photographers back, allowing only the Herald Sun photographer to keep filming.
I shouldn't be surprised, but it is hard to live with the knowledge of the lengths officialdom and some representatives of the media will go to to destroy opposition and undermine peoples' rights to peaceful protest.
Accompanying the article was a video of a recent picket at the corner of Alexandra and Queens Parades. It was entitled: E W Link Protest Boils Over. Watching it, I found my eyes filling with tears at the injustice of this depiction of us and because I was so moved by the grace, stalwartness and peacefulness of the protestors withstanding the police onslaught. I will finish with two pictures from my record of that day: