Freedom of expression

Posted by Cristian Livadaru on Friday, January 28, 2022

I have to get something of my chest. I‘m furious and pissed about Vienna‘s response to a recent climate protest.My understanding of a democracy is that every person has the right to express their opinion even in form of a protest. This doesn‘t matter if I agree or not with that opinion or point of view. Let‘s take the meanwhile weekly anti covid measures protests taking place in the city. I totally disagree with everything those people stand and protest for. As long as those protests are sticking to the rules, these people should be allowed to express their opinion, no mater how much I shake my head in disbelief how the fuck it’s possible that immigrants or people who come from an immigrant background are marching in protests that are organized and lead by right wing extremists and known nazis. No mater how much that disgusts me and makes me mad, I would be a hypocrite to tolerate protests for things that I care about and demand that protests going against my opinion to be forbidden.

Do we really need that new freeway?

But I’m getting off topic here, I just wanted to level the playfield about how I think about protests. Now back to the climate activists.A few months ago, a few climate activists blocked a construction site where a new street should be built as a protest against plans for a new freeway that was to be built after that street. Won’t go into the specific since this is not what I want to talk about.First of all, regardless of how I stand on this issue (you should be able to guess at the end of this post), I have nothing but admiration for the young generation taking action, action on topics that our and the generation before mine should deal with. We are doing jack shit, so it’s up to a few young people how are fed up with waiting around until we finally do something! I’m saying we since I honestly also do way to little. This blockage of the construction site was organized by the 21 Year old Lena Schilling, you can read the full article (German) over here:

21! I don’t know what you did with 21, but I definitely didn’t have any plans on protesting, organizing the blocking of a construction site or picking a fight with Vienna and the Major of Vienna. Instead of creating a new hashtag, tweeting and retweeting or posting crap and Facebook, this 21year started something that lead or at least contributed to the city of Vienna stopping plans for constructing the new freeway.

But what can I do?

Every time I read stories like this, I think of a friend who asked me “But what could I do as a single person?”, here is a perfect example of what could be done.There’s this quote from Dalai Lama:

If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.

I know, coming up with quotes is easy, and I’m definitely not the type of person who would have the guts, energy and talking capabilities to pull something like this off, but this shows that one single person can organize and lead multiple people to take action.

What am I so pissed about?

All nice and good, seems like a happy story for the climate movement. What is there to be pissed about in all of this?

Well, the city of Vienna responded to this with letters from lawyers threatening the protestors that the city will demand payback if the city was to be sued for not starting the project. This can be discussed on how acceptable this step was, but not only did they send those letters to protestors, which some where children, yeah, the most livable city in the world threatens 13 year old children with law suits and payments of millions of euros, but no, they also sent these letters to scientists, some which where not even part of the protest, let alone the blocking of the construction site.What the actual fuck?? How can you threaten a scientist with a law suit just because she/he works in a field and is in alignment with what the protest is all about. Have you lost your fucking mind? And what’s wrong with you in going after 13year old children just for being part of a protest?This step alone has changed my view on the major quite a bit, but why stop here if you can dig yourself even deeper.

The fire incident

Around New Year’s Eve, some of the protesters where on the blocked construction site in a … let’s call it a hut when someone set it on fire. Luckily they where on the ground floor and managed to escape, if they would have been on the upper floor where they sleep, most likely people would have died. I have no words on the fact that someone set a hut on fire, with people inside, risking peoples lives. This is unacceptable. But the response from the major was … jaw dropping stupid.

… definitely a sign that a law free area of the city isn’t an advantage.

So someone almost got killed in a fire attack, and your response is: “suits you right if you want to stay there”I have nothing else to respond to this than: Fuck you!