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Your Interview – Sitting Bull, Bexhill to Hastings link road protester
1:10pm Saturday 26th January 2013 in News
In our new weekly feature your Interview, we give you, our readers, the chance to ask key figures and groups across Sussex the questions you want answered. This week protester Simon William Medhurst AKA SITTING BULL answers your questions.
ALGERIA TOUCHSHRIEK” (ONLINE): Are you on benefits?
SB: I always get questions like this and frankly it is just frustrating.
I’ve worked hard during my life and before this I was a carer. I came down to camp because this is something I feel passionately about.
The kind of people that level these questions at me are the types who can’t be bothered to get off the sofa in the front room all day.
I believe that this road is wrong and if people are going to abuse you for that then so be it.
MARITIMER (ONLINE): Have do you cope on your own in the tunnel and where do you find the stamina?
SB: I do a lot of reading. This time I took Nine Miles by Jim Hindle and some science fiction. That keeps the mind occupied.
I was also given a pack of cards before I went in so I played a few games of patience.
Admittedly it wasn’t the best game ever but it kept me busy.
The key is high energy food and drink to keep you going.
So things like Lucazade are great.
POCCYPOC (ONLINE): Why did you think your protest would do any good given the road will be built come what may?
SB: For me my motivation is the trees. I just love trees. I know it may sound a bit mystical but being with trees makes my life better.
The better the tree the better I feel. The bigger the tree the more lofty I feel.
I’ve been around trees all my life and climbing has been a passion for as long as I can remember.
If we don’t make a stand here then what is going to stop them doing the same elsewhere.
The banners around camp talk of the second Battle of Hastings. It feels that if we don’t win this battle the future of this area is pretty bleak.
ANONYMOUS (PHONE): How do you deal with the claustrophobia of such a small space?
SB: It’s odd. I don’t really get claustrophobic in my own tunnel.
I never used to make my own and would volunteer to go in other people’s.
But I once had a really bad panic attack and vowed that I would build my own instead.
When you’re in someone else’s you start looking at every crack and every drop of water and think: ‘It’s going to go, I’m going to get trapped’.
But when you’ve made your own from scratch you can be more confident. So I was never really that worried.
MAYAN TURKEY (ONLINE): Do you have any advice for young people evaluating their future options who might be interested in following a career in protesting?
SB: Back in my younger days I was a photographer in the Royal Air Force. I used to spend hours on end in a dark room developing pictures so in a way I was preparing myself for dark spaces even back then.
Later on I was a Green Party candidate for the Silverhill Ward in Hastings and as I’ve already mentioned I was working as a carer.
But there are plenty of like-minded people across the country.
If you want to help make a difference then it isn’t difficult – you just need to search online for your local activists and get involved.
We are all extremely friendly and bond over our shared values and beliefs.
As far as tunnelling goes I’ve got no real background in it.
I had no previous experience of engineering or digging.
All I know about tunnels is from a website called Disco Dave’s Guide to Tunnels. It has information on all types of tunnels and how to construct them.
My tunnel was called a tight and nasty. I mean you can never be 100% sure that it will hold, but that’s life.
ANONYMOUS (EMAIL): Do you know Swampy? If so what is he like?
SB: I first met Swampy at the Manchester Airport protests and he became something of a figurehead for the movement after that.
The press has tried to make out that I’m best friends with Swampy and that we spend time together. But this isn’t true.
I know him to say hello to but we’re not great friends.
Saying that he comes across as a really nice guy and has certainly done a lot of important things.
I was and am willing to risk my life.
Not willing to risk it pointlessly or in a gung-ho way but I feel very strongly about this.
We can’t let them get away with this. We have to oppose them.
ANONYMOUS(PHONE): What do you take down the tunnel with you?
SB: I was fully prepared when I went down, I reckon I could have lasted weeks.
Obviously I had plenty of tinned food and high energy drinks to keep me going.
Also the likes of a wee bottle and plastic bags for you-know-what and a few books to keep my mind occupied.
Plenty of torches and batteries are important and then you just have to do your best to stay calm.
THE ARGUS: How do you deal with the abuse?
SB: I don’t bother with people like that.
Those sort of comments go straight over my head.
I think what I’m doing is the right thing and I’m passionate about that and I think that in time they will come round to my way of thinking.
People say that I’m a dole scrounger but that’s just not true.
Before the protest I was working as a carer so I don’t even want to engage in conversation with them.
People with trivial lives look for trivial things in other people to justify their trivial lives. It’s very frustrating.
They talk about this technology and that but it’s all very trivial.
The only reason they focus on those sorts of things is because they have nothing else to say about it.
Your questions to an official from the Highways Agency
This month’s snow and ice has crippled our roads and carriageways.
Now Argus readers have their chance to question the person responsible for the maintenance of Sussex’s roads, including the deployment of gritters and reaction to emergency incidents.
Were you one of the unlucky drivers who abandoned their car on the A27 this week? Or were you unable to get to where you needed to be because of blocked roads?
Send in your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01273 544 682
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