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The Unbending Squirrel

cecile_lecomte Activism should be fun, pro- or anti-whatever, since the rewards of activism are often frustration, lost friends, and learning what it is to be called fanatic. So a bow to the unbending squirrel:

A French anti-nuclear activist nicknamed the "unbending squirrel" managed to stop a train carrying uranium from a German processing plant in spectacular fashion, police said on Tuesday.

Cecile Lecomte, 27, rappelled down a motorway bridge near the western city of Münster late on Monday night to hang suspended over a rail line, forcing the 25-car train carrying the enriched nuclear fuel to stop.

That’s probably all kinds of illegal, but as long Ms. Lecomte didn’t hurt anyone – the story doesn’t indicate it - cooling her heels for a few days in a Munster pokey will do no harm. The story doesn’t indicate if she associates with a group, but this story does:

26-year-old French climbing and Robin Wood activist, Cécile Lecomte … [was] arrested in Lueneburg on Thursday where she had balanced from a railway overpass together with other Robin Wood activists.

This happened in November of last year. Note that this is translated from the German – we’re dubious about some of the things said in the translation (based on our very rusty German), so if you go over there, apply caution or read the original German.

And what about Robin Wood?

For over a month [early last year], activists from Robin Wood had been living in a 200-year-old tree to protest a controversial bridge under construction in Dresden. The project might destroy a UNESCO-protected site, but the tree protest ended on Tuesday. The tree has now been cut down.

Here’s Robin Wood’s site. Once again deploying our unreliable German, the name is indeed a pun (as only the Germans can do it) on Robin Hood. Living in a tree seems more their style than stopping trains, but they do like rappelling around.

As long as they do stuff like this – and take care not to put anyone, including themselves, into harm’s way – have at it. The train got where it was going, the tree came down, some consciousness’ got raised, a fair few considered them fools. It’s the old activist game.


Germany of course has been struggling with its nuclear ban. By 2020, the country will turn off its nuclear plants and lose 25% of its generating capacity. And without viable carbon emission free replacement energy at the ready, this represents a bit of a problem.

But current Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives say that going back to nuclear, as fellow EU member Italy is doing, would reduce Germany's dependency on oil and gas imports from Russia and the Middle East.

We suspect they really can’t do that.

The Greens are part of an unusual left-right coalition right now, so no nuclear, but let’s see what comes out of Copenhagen. Unser Freund Deutsch might be feeling a bit like hanging off a bridge itself.

A politzei de-dangling the unbending squirrel.


DV8 2XL said…
Too bad we don't have some of that passion among supporters of nuclear energy.

Not that I am suggesting that we start these sorts of antics, but it would be nice to see a little of that sort of fire in the eyes sometimes
Finrod said…
I think that passion exists, but no one seems to want to go first. Someone needs to stick their neck out.
Ioannes said…
Sadly, people who show passion about issues get labelled as fanatics. In today's liberal society, equality somehow means mediocrity and sameness. I was once very passionate about nuclear energy. Obviously, I am still pro-nuclear. But I found that there are issues far more important than nuclear energy: morality and righteousness. When some (NOT all) very knowledgeable and intelligent and articulate pro-nuclear people sit opposite the table on such non-negotionable issues, I lose my passion for things pro-nuclear. Yes, I want NEI to succeed. I would love for Atomic Insights to build its first gas cooled reactor. And Energy from Thorium's liquid molten salt reactor sounds fascinating. But none of that is going to matter if this country doesn't return to being a really Christian country, and that's the bottom line. Of course, it's not popular to say those words anymore, but say them I do.
Finrod said…
So Ionnes, if a non-Christian supports nuclear power, does that mean that your passion for the prospect of all the benefits nuclear power can bring is diminished? If non-Christians come out in support of any good cause, does that mean that Christians shouldn't support it?

I'm not following your reasoning here.
Ioannes said…
Finrod, my response is here:
Anonymous said…
I would guess that he just means support from morally upstanding people, as he mentioned morality and righteousness.

As a pro-nuclear Christian myself, I answer No to your second question. Christians can still support causes that non-Christians do. This is not the case when it becomes morally wrong to support that case or the means by which it is now supported become morally wrong. Nuclear power is not at that point.
Smed said…
I'm actually surprised the train did stop. Did they know that it was an activist? Couldn't it have easily been a hijacking?

Ioannes, why would a Christian country be any better than a Muslim country?
Mark Flanagan said…
To Ioannes: I read the post over at your site and found plenty to respect in your scholarship and the centrality of religion in your life. If I don't agree with some of your viewpoints, well, that's why we write, isn't it? - to test our views against other views to make our own stronger.

"There are issues that trump nuclear energy," you wrote. I imagine there isn't a single person at NEI or who read this blog who would disagree with that. Nuclear energy is one of the things we care about, but not the primary thing. This seems to be true of you, too.

Your next line, "One cannot compromise one’s principles and work with the devil" paints NEI, Greenpeace, the Chamber of Commerce and, well, everyone into a corner. The government consists of literally hundreds of thousands of people. However you define devil, some of them will fit it.

NEI's goal - to promote nuclear energy's benefits - certainly has no demonic aspect and doesn't develop one by working with government.

That said, if your own activism points you to Christian outreach and away from energy issues, nuclear power to you. Whatever else God has or has not done, He did put only 24 hours into a day. Use them as your conscience dictates.

Anonymous said…
quick perusal of the First Amendment of the US Constitution will reveal that the US never was a "Christian country." It was founded on the fundamental tenet freedom of religion, or freedom not to practice a religion.

Thus, I respect your right to your religious beliefs, but not to impose them on other people. And that's what I hear when I hear talk about a "Christian country."
Anonymous said…
I would say that I have an extreme degree of passion about nuclear; as strong as any anti-nuke out there.

My problem is that I'm trying to figure out how to channel/harness that passion in a productive way, that actually makes a difference.

What has the most impact? Blogging? Commenting on websites? Letters to the editor? Calling Congressmen? A physical march/protest (never had the opportunity)? Running for office (LOL)? Joining a PR firm? Trying to get on congressional staff or (better yet) committeee staff?

Thoughts, anyone?

Jim Hopf
DV8 2XL said…
Jim Hopf - yes to all of the above. of course you can only do what you are capable of but what we need is the sort of whole-body commitment that the antinuclear forces seem to be able to call on.

To my mind we have to start recruiting in the schools. Pronuclear is sadly absent from high school and junior collage campuses, but antinuclear is not. As a consequence any converts that we get come from re-educating those who have been fed lies, sometimes for years. If we could sell nuclear energy to this group, it would make organizing the grassroots so much easer.

So maybe make a slide-show or a presentation and take in around to the schools in your area for a start.
Anonymous said…

I hear what you're saying about getting people in their formative years. However, the benefits would occur way down the road, decades from now, and (alas) I'm not that patient.

I believe that the key policy decisions that will affect the course of nuclear over the coming decades will occur within the next few years (a decade at most). This is the timeframe I'm focused on. I'm focused on changing the minds of adults (better yet, policymakers).

Jim Hopf

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