Great-grandmother Betty Krawcyzk is a member of the singing, dancing, and muckraking Raging Grannies, a political street theatre troupe that now has chapters all over North America and beyond. Unfortunately, Canada’s laws rarely recognize (and act on) corporate terrorism and corporate crime, but are not equally blind to the activities of septuagenarian environmentalists who have the courage, commitment and endurance to stand up to endless unsustainable development. In fact the law is dutifully upheld by courts seeking to protect vulnerable Olympic developers who merely want to build a super highway through ancient coastal forests outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, so that the world can watch another billion dollar competition on their television sets. There is no denying the boost to Vancouver’s (and British Columbia’s) economy the 2010 Winter Olympics will bring, but the social, cultural and especially environmental costs are rarely factored into the equation, except of course by countless citizens who dare to raise such concerns, as this raging granny has continued to do, until today.
Knoxnews reported today that Krawczyk was indeed sentenced to nearly one year in prison today, while members of her family and friends gathered in the courtroom to shout “shame” as she was led away defiantly shouting “I am a citizen!” Krawczyk has spent 2 and a half years in prison already, and the disgusting policy of a court and legal system that favours large multinationals over politically committed citizens has proven to be deadly for at least one raging granny, First Nations environmentalist Harriet Nahanee, who died at age 71 after spending one month in prison.
What are these singing, dancing, political street theatre troubadours guilty of? They are guilty of daring to be brave enough to stop large bulldozers from destroying an ecosystem they have lived with longer than prosecuting lawyers have been practicing. As friend and fellow activist Rose Henry says, “It is Canada’s shame that we are letting a grandmother go to jail.” It is a shame that it is 2007, and we live in a society that values the rights of multinationals to do whatever it takes to make their profit margins over the rights of our elders. Or do we?
It would seem that way in mainstream media coverage, where you even find headlines like “Arrest her already” by the Kamloopsthisweek site, although they have apparently removed the story (if you find it, please send it to us). It is remarkable how cuddly large corporations appear to authorities while grannies can be so downright threatening.