by Ellen Wiles
Will you help to end the tax on women’s period products?
Will you help to prevent rough sleepers from being criminalised?
Will you help to rescue my small child’s mother from unjust imprisonment?
Will you help to ban reusable plastics across the country?
Will you help us call on Iceland to halt their fin whale killing?
Will you help to stop Tesco from selling caged hens’ eggs? Actually how about just banning all caged hen farms in the UK?
Will you help to ban all misogynist white men who want to return women’s rights to the level they were at in the Victorian era from running for public office? In fact how about just having women in power globally for a while, say a trial decade? Or twenty years. Just while these climate tipping points are looming.
Will you help to give young people who care and who have a longer future to face and who engage with online petitions and start global embodied movements for social change the vote?
Will you help by lifting not only your finger but your body from your sofa and volunteering more than a click of your time at a charity?
Will you help by cutting out meat and selling your gas guzzler and refusing to fly and doorstepping for local elections – or are you actually only up for actions that don’t cost you the lifestyle to which you’ve become accustomed?
Will you help by sharing this petition with all your friends on social media, or are none of these online personas your real friends anymore? Were they ever? Do you have any close friends anymore? Who are you thinking of right now – and when did you last call them just to see how they were?
Will you be my friend? Will you come and sit in a mossy tree with me to rub our cheeks against its velvet and protest against deforestation and read poems aloud to each other and smell the fresh tang of dewy leaves and exult in the natural high we’d get from all that birdsong?
Will you at least help assuage my panic that all this click click clicking feels like endless futile tapping at the window of life?
© Ellen Wiles, May 2019
Ellen Wiles is a writer of novels and literary ethnographies among other things. Her books are The Invisible Crowd (HarperCollins, 2017) and Saffron Shadows and Salvaged Scripts: Literary Life in Myanmar Under Censorship and in Transition (Columbia University Press, 2015). She reviews books and theatre for The TLS. Her PhD explores the culture of live literature, and she is the founder of Ark, an experimental literary performance project. She has previously worked as a human rights barrister and a busker. Her website is: www.ellenwiles.com