This is Ligonier's friendly neighborhood blog and an attempt to recapture our lively opinionated debates in a free speech zone.

Please join our conversations. Contributors welcome.


claysh@gmail.com

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A defiant letter and a series of poignant drawings from Briton Phil Ball highlight the plight of the Arctic 30 in their eighth week of imprisonment in Russia

They have received political support from all over the world – from Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to the vice-president of Iran, Eshaq Jahangiri, and the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff. Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is among 13 Nobel peace laureates and hundreds of parliamentarians all over the world who have sent messages of support to the imprisoned 30 and called for their release.

"'A joke, but a very unfunny one," is how Phil Ball, one of the Arctic 30, described hearing he faced a charge of piracy. "Even when lawyers, cellmates and yes, even the prosecutor, made jokes about parrots and tried to say 'Arrr' in a Russian accent," the father of three young children wrote, in the latest letter to be received from the bleak Murmansk jail cells which are holding the Greenpeace Arctic 30 in their eighth week of imprisonment.

In it Ball, 42, a cameraman from Oxford, said he was struggling to cope with the new charge the 28 activists and two journalists have now been told they face, an accusation of hooliganism that carries a sentence of seven years. Ball said he is appalled at the wording of the charge, which defines hooliganism as an act in "contempt of society", when he fervently believed the Greenpeace protest he was involved was quite the opposite. He accused "greedy mega-rich oil companies" of being themselves the hooligans, ignoring runaway climate change and acting "in contempt of the societies of our children and grandchildren"."

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/09/phil-ball-arctic-30-plight-letter

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/02/drilling-arctic-environmental-impact-greenpeace-piracy