Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Beeliar Wetlands Protest and Enforcing a Police State

This is part of a sequence of poems I've been working on over the last few years. As some of you will have seen in the news, the Western Australian Premier and Minister for Environment (makes me sick writing that absurd title), and other government enforcers, have had the police out in force to ensure the 'progress' of the destruction of the Beeliar bushland. Photos on the ABC website show a few police; today they had a phalanx of hoplites spread out to ward off the protesters so the attack on the bushland could continue. It's that brutal — it is an act of state violence that must be met with committed pacifist resistance. Non-violent action against the violence of state capitalism.

Sweeney Contemplates a Display of Force by the Police State

Distant now, and working out how to make a return, how to embrace
the wetlands and detrack the machines, Sweeney flew low through the rain
of grasshoppers rising up from the denuded plains, late crops shaking
their seed onto the scorched earth. I will return to the coastal plain,

said Sweeney loud to the parrots, loud to the crows, loud to the mulga
snakes, loud to the grasshoppers. I will stand with the protectors against
the troops of the dictator, against the builder of stadia and his wealthy,
uncouth mates. I will stand against their class pretensions, against their

sporting codes which read a little like the bishop leading an army
against the heathen. I am a heathen, Sweeney told the blue sky
stretched to breaking point; I am old as the earth but can’t even perch
on the outstretched branch of a York gum without feeling guilt. But I will fly

down to the marri, to the blackbutt, to the banksia, to the zamias and grass
trees and ask if I might perch temporarily, temporarily to watch over
the souls of those who dwell there, who know the stories, who connect
constellations with earth itself, who can unpick the codes, the fever

of growth, schematics of belonging. Red-tailed black cockatoos
will guide me in, give me strength.  I will ask to join the lines, speaking
my ancient tongue of respect. I will tell the police they must listen
to the ground through their feet, must listen to the whispering

coming out of the bush where there are as many worlds
as night reveals, spreading its sheet, a future unfurled.

            John Kinsella

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