Activist Bites at Yoko Ono's Meltdown Festival

This afternoon, I had the great pleasure of meeting and speaking at the Meltdown Festival with three other activists, Giles Duley, Laura Bates and Peter Tatchell.

I almost cried listening to Giles recount his career as a photographer, travelling the world's war-torn regions to take pictures of the downtrodden, including a female burn victim disowned by her family and forced to live with the man who threw acid on her face, and people abandoned in a shanty town, dying for lack of antibiotics. In 2011, Giles stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost both of his legs and his left arm. His presentation finished with this self-portrait:

I was compelled to give Giles a hug after hearing his talk. Here's a video of Giles doing his talk:

After a man grabbed Laura's leg on a bus, a group shouted abuse at her from a car and two men commented on her breasts as she walked by, Laura started a Twitter account asking women to share stories of sexist treatment. Expecting a few responses from her colleagues and friends, the deluge that followed resulted in 40,000 accounts from all over the world and resulted in the Everyday Sexism Project. Here's Laura speaking:

The last speaker up was the eloquent Peter Tatchell, who my dad was excited to see on the list as he's followed Peter for years. Peter has been campaigning for gay rights for decades. Until today, I hadn't realized that gays were heavily criminalized in the UK until 2003, when a 500 year-old law introduced during the reign of Henry VIII was repealed. Peter has campaigned worldwide and been attacked numerous times, including by Robert Mugabe's bodyguards and Russian Nazis, resulting in permanent damage to his optic nerve. Here's Peter and other activists in Russia, getting punched in the head so forcefully you can hear a cracking sound:

I suggested he take up karate.

Here's Peter in action:

My talk:

Video I showed today on how Jon's Jail Journal started:

Doing my talk today:

Shaun Attwood


Anonymous said...

Shaun -

I am a long time reader and supporter of yours. I appreciate your writing skills therefore feel obligated to be honest. While I love reading about your progress and what you have going on, those entries now comprise what seems like 99.9% of the blog. I wish you would bring back inmate letters and stories to get some of the excitement and adventure. Also, like many others, I am fascinated by the DOC and the subculture that exists. Thanks for a great blog Shaun,!keep up the growing success, and most importantly: bring back the intrigue!

Shaun Attwood said...

duly noted

Steph said...

The talks were great! They were all really diverse and engaging. We met briefly - I work in a Guildford bookshop, let me know if you'd be interested in doing an event with us :)

Anonymous said...

Please don't take offense to my comment Shaun. I think you are so talented and inspirational, I will forever be a regular on your blog and will always be a big fan!