By Elijah Williams
Today was our first day in the city, and unless you had no insight of the risks that we are all facing, you would think we were only having a blast. We spent the first half of the morning in our first It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm delegation meeting. We met comrades from Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Climate Justice Alliance, and the Indigenous Environmental Network, introduced ourselves and tried to get an idea of what events were to take place in the upcoming days given the new "security situation" based on France’s state of emergency.
We learned that the powers that be are spying on the movement here in Paris extensively, and made no hesitation to spy on us free spirited people during our meeting. After the arrival of a French comrade, what appeared to be a group of undercover officers observed the meeting and took some photos of the members of our camp. Of course only the ones with keen sight were able to realize it, but I wasn’t one of them. The smiles and cheers and updates from everyone else had my attention. We were warned to be cautious of what we said in certain spaces, but sometimes the enemy is already a step ahead. The lesson I learned is to "expect the unexpected.”
While we explored the city, soldiers with guns were everywhere. In one instance I looked one in the eyes but swiftly looked away, avoiding misinterpretation of body language, trying not to make myself a target. Truth is, I probably already am a target, as a young black man and as an activist in Paris for climate justice during this heightened police/military presence.
Not everyone here is who they seem to be. One reality I’ve come to accept is that anyone who speaks our language, or claims to fight with us could actually be an enemy among us. But, the struggle continues and we are undeterred in our mission.