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The Winter of Discount Tents Revisited

The prodigal daughter has at last returned triumphant from her travels to the south seas to  rejoin the Sisters for new adventures in the underground.

While digging through a pile of things discarded before she left we unearthed a police riot shield painted bright sunshine yellow with a smiley face. It was only one of three made by Jimmy not lost in action during the evictions from Occupy at St Paul’s.

During the winter of 2011 she left college and camped out in a tent at St Paul’s for months to protest the injustice of the global economic and political systems. It was cold and hard living there and I was surprised she stuck it out for so many months but she is a girl of strong convictions and quiet determination. As a mother I was afraid for her safety constantly and could only do what mothers do best – make soup and drape her in blankets and hugs.

We talked a lot that winter about protest and particularly about effective ways of making non violent protest. In readiness for the eventual eviction of the St Paul’s protesters Jimmy found three old police riot shields and painted them with bright yellow smiley faces . An inspired and  beautiful use of a friendly beloved icon. He even signed them so as to amalgamate art protest and function.  In the end all three shields had to be hidden at the camp as the police judged them to be weapons when in the hands of the Occupy protesters and my daughter was threatened with arrest if she was seen holding one in public. How a shield can be judged a weapon is beyond my comprehension. How is it right that during a protest of any kind full grown men in police uniforms are able to use shields but my eighteen year old daughter is not allowed to hold her own bright smiley shield up as a sign of both protest and peace and at the same time protect herself from flying fists and batons and heavy boots.

As an act of deliberate defiance Miss Pokeno has commissioned Jimmy aka the Receptionist to create more of these glorious yellow smiley shields. We have put them in our shop and you can buy them for yourselves to use as you see fit.


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