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A Complete Beginner

Due to two relatively recent events, I am being drawn to the worlds of protesting and feministing. Both unchartered waters for me (in spite of following this esteemed community), so I’m going to take baby steps.


I’m Irish and living in Brussels. In terms of protesting, this is a slight contradiction. Irish people aren’t great at protesting. Take the bailout of the banks by the EU and IMF in 2010. When this happened in Greece, there were riots in the streets, people were injured, and the country was on the verge of collapse. When it happened in Ireland, there was some grumbling, a general election was called, another beige government was elected, and eventually people shrugged their shoulders and got on with life. It’s what we do.

Having spent the last three years in the headquarters of the European Union, I’ve seen my fair share of protests. The protesters that descend on our little city are varied: one day you walk through a park near the European Commission, full of farmers with their tractors, tents and bbqs, resting before a day of protesting milk quotas; the next day you walk down a street to the European Parliament, passing crowds of trade unionists who jeer at women in suits, make a lot of noise and take advantage of a day off to drink Belgian beers and throw the cans on the ground. They don’t endear themselves to anyone on the fence about protesting.