I'd never been on a demonstration until I moved to Germany. Whether it's the Teutonic influence, my husband's persuasion or my age that produced a touch of the Millie Militant in me I'm unsure. Not that I don't have strong opinions, I was simply not keen on getting boshed. Either way, last Saturday we found ourselves ready to do battle against a nuclear power station in Krümmel, a small town situated about 50 kms away from our home. It's old, and about three years ago there was an "incident" which came terrifyingly close to having disastrous consequences. Since this time there have been many more "incidents" and numerous attempts to close it down, quite rightly so.
I've always been somewhat reluctant and slightly cynical about taking children on demonstrations. And, as a mother who won't allow her child to go to a church owned kindergarten for fear of indoctrination, I'm aware that I'm on hypocritically shaky ground. That said, this is something we feel very strongly about and there would be no danger of violence so we were off and Finje was with us.On the way we attempted to explain, in simple terms, what we were about to do. Keeping the conversation child-appropriate was no easy feat. We managed to bumble through, keeping comments about death, destruction and Armageddon to a bare minimum and she seemed to be taking it all in. To be fair though, one never really knows with Finje. I half expected her to follow up our laboured explanation with, "Will Father Christmas bring me a puppy this year?" Nevertheless, all seemed to be going well until we made the mistake of mentioning that over 20,000 balloons would be released in order to show the effects of just how far.........
"Ohh balloons, are we nearly there yet?"
So much for that attempt at early political, erm... "persuasion".
It was a very peaceful protest. Thousands of people marching in a dignified manner for their own future and that of their children. Finje mingled right in there. The balloons were released, floating far and wide, in what turned out to be a spectacular, and at the same time rather sobering, illustration of the consequences of the unthinkable.
On the way home I thought Finje had dozed off as my husband and I discussed any positive effect such collective efforts may or may not have on government. A sleepy little voice piped up from the back seat,
"If the big people see all our balloons will they switch the bad building off then we can all be safe?"
Out of the mouths of babes.
Would you take your child on a demonstration?