So said a comment online yesterday. As news of the World Heritage announcement spread like wildfire it was great to watch the facebook newsfeed – tears and laughter and elation and vindication. This win will be claimed by many, but a special part of it needs to be owned by the frontline crew.
I’ve worked around the fringes of the forest campaign for more than ten years now – and have consistently been amazed at the tenacity and toughness of the people who speak for the trees.
No matter what your view on the so called ‘tassie peace deal’ – you have to credit a big part of this win to the people on the frontline. For crazy-glorious pirate ships, for living in the tree tops, imagination and gender bending ‘be my florentine’ beauty pageants, for people camped in muddy winter holding ‘Camp Floz’, for locking arms into old car bodies, for people going to jail, for fun and feisty actions, musical hilarity, for crazy trips into town to get footage to news stations, and for one brave and wonderful woman who spent 449 days living 60 metres high up to a tree to protect it.
And these forests simply would not be here to be finally marked out on a piece of paper with the international recognition everyone on our side of the fence always knew they deserved – if it wasn’t for people willing to stand sentry in the brutal chill of Tasmanian winter.
It is cold, and hostile, and quite rightly described as a war. People have been assaulted, abused, targeted, publicly vilified.
If you haven’t seen these forests then you have these people to thank for making sure that opportunity is still open. And if you have seen them, you might understand why people moved to Tasmania, gave up their everything and went to battle for these sacred places.
I remember my first visit to Tasmania and being absolutely overwhelmed on a brief visit to the Styx – I simply had never seen anything like it… and I am deeply grateful I can go back and spend more time walking these forests.
All the environmental organisations will claim this win – and many have certainly played a role, 1000’s of people across the country have been involved and there are many other facets to this long fought campaign than direct action – but me, I firstly want to send my big love and respect to those who stood strong on the frontlines – to the Huon Valley Environment Centre, Still Wild Still Threatened, Observertree and all the crazy, dedicated, fabulously dysfunctional, smart and inspiring warriors who have stood in the way.
I loved this comment from Dylan Grimwood – “You mean to say I lived in wet socks for months and months on end, slept in puddles, witnessed Ancient forest’s be demolished with my own eyes for an actual reason??! Nah realllly??”
Yeah really. Thanks, from all of us.
And a little post script from Ula Majewski, “Amazing times, heartbreaking times, fall on the ground laughing times. And times when the whole world just stopped and you just realised what lucky bastards we are to have the privilege of walking through these places that exist absolutely beyond the adequacy of the english language.”