Jane Fonda returns to civil disobedience for climate change

Actress Jane Fonda gestures after being arrested during a climate change rally on Capitol Hill in Washington on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. (AP)
Updated 19 October 2019

Jane Fonda returns to civil disobedience for climate change

  • Jane Fonda plans to get arrested every Friday to advocate for urgent reduction in the use of fossil fuels
  • Getting arrested in 2019, poses some entirely new challenges: Fonda

WASHINGTON: Inspired by the climate activism of a Swedish teenager, Jane Fonda says she’s returning to civil disobedience nearly a half-century after she was last arrested at a protest.
Fonda, known for her opposition to the Vietnam War, was one of 17 climate protesters was arrested Friday at the US Capitol on charges of unlawful demonstration by what she called “extremely nice and professional” police. Fellow actor Sam Waterston was also in the group, which included many older demonstrators.
Now 81, Fonda said she plans to get arrested every Friday to advocate for urgent reduction in the use of fossil fuels. She hopes to encourage other older people to protest as well.
Getting arrested in 2019, poses some entirely new challenges, Fonda told The Associated Press in an interview.
These days, “they use white plastic things on your wrists instead of metal handcuffs, and that hurts more,” she said.
“The only problem for me is I’m old,” Fonda said. After her first arrest last week, she had trouble getting into the police vehicle because she was handcuffed behind her back and “had nothing to hang on to.”
On Friday, Fonda emerged from a cluster of officers and stepped smartly into the police wagon, her hands cuffed in front of her.
“Thanks, Jane!” some of the protesters called out.
“What would you tell President Trump?” someone in the crowd yelled to her earlier, as she and other protesters stood on their platform in front of the Capitol.
“I wouldn’t waste my breath,” she shouted back, drawing laughter.
The rally drew at least a couple of hundred people, young and old.
While Fonda has taken part in many climate demonstrations, she said Greta Thunberg’s mobilization of international student strikes and other activism, along with the climate writing of author Naomi Klein, prompted her to return to courting arrests for a cause.
Fonda cannot remember precisely which cause led to her last arrest in the 1970s.
She said her target audience now is people like her who try to cut their plastic use and drive fuel-efficient cars, for instance, but otherwise “don’t know what to do and they feel helpless,” she said. “We’re trying to encourage people to become more active, across the age spectrum.”
Especially in the US, young people appear to be driving many of the protests and rallies demanding government action on climate change, University of Maryland sociologist Dana Fisher said.
Nearly half of the people who turned out for a September climate protest in Washington were college age or younger, and a quarter were 17 or younger, for instance, Fisher said. Most were female.
On the other hand, it was older, white females who turned out for earlier protests during the Trump administration, like the women’s marches, Fisher noted.
“There’s a whole group of very activated, middle-age white women. They woke up after the election, and they haven’t gone back to bed,” Fisher said.
So far, those people have not been involved in the youth climate movement. Fonda’s efforts could “get them out there,” Fisher said.
If her efforts misfire, Fisher added, the older people risk making the movement look uncool.
Asked how she would answer any young climate activist who complained of being co-opted, Fonda said, “I would hug them.”
And she did just that with some of the teenagers and other young activists she invited up to the stage to speak.
“It’s a good thing that Jane is doing, to try to shift the paradigm so it’s not just falling on young people” to rally the public on fossil fuel emissions, said Joe Markus, a 19-year-old Washington-area student attending Friday’s protest.
Leslie Wharton, 63, from Bethesda, Maryland, sat out the Vietnam War protests that drew out Fonda. She came out Friday as part of a group calling itself Elders Climate Action.
Lots of people of all ages are worried about climate change and want to do something, Wharton said, but “us elders are retired or part-time. We can take the time.”


Egyptian civilian triggers discovery of ancient temple

Updated 12 December 2019

Egyptian civilian triggers discovery of ancient temple

  • An archaeological mission discovered an entire temple underneath the village of Mit Rahinah

CAIRO: Nobody in the Egyptian Ministry of Culture could believe that an illegal attempt by a civilian to prospect for monuments underneath his own home would lead to a grand discovery.

But that is just what happened when this week the ministry began archaeological excavations in the Mit Rahinah area, neighboring the pyramids of Giza.

The illegal digging by the 60-year-old resident alerted the authorities who arrested him in the first week of this month. The tourism authorities then went in and were surprised by the discovery.   

The archaeological mission discovered an entire temple underneath the village of Mit Rahinah.

According to a statement issued by the ministry, 19 chunks of pink granite and limestone bearing inscriptions depicting Ptah, the god of creation and of the ancient city Manf, were also discovered. 

Among the finds were also an artifact traceable to the reign of Ramesses II and inscriptions showing the king practicing a religious ritual. 

Egyptian researcher Abdel-Magid Abdul Aziz said Ptah was idolized in Manf. In one image, the god is depicted as a human wrapped in a tight-fitting cloth.

The deity was also in charge of memorial holidays and responsible for several inventions, holding the title Master of all Makers.

“There’s a statue of the god Ptah in the Egyptian Museum, in its traditional form as a mummy,” Abdul Aziz said.

“His hands come out from the folds of his robe ... as depicted in art pieces. Ptah appears as a bearded, buried man,” he added.

“Often he wears a hat, with his hands clutching Ankh (the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for the key of life).”

Ayman Ashmawy, head of ancient Egyptian artifacts at the Ministry of Antiquities, said: “The artifacts are in the process of being restored, and have been moved to the museum’s open garden in Mit Rahinah.” He added that work was being done to discover and restore the rest of the temple.

As for the illegal prospecting of the area by its people, Ashmawy said the residents of Mit Rahinah were seeking to exploit the monuments.

He added that the law forbids prospecting for archaeological monuments, and that doing so could lead to a long prison sentence and a major fine, up to hundreds of thousands of Egyptian pounds. 

Mit Rahinah contains a large number of monuments, which have been discovered by chance. The area is home to an open museum, 20 km south of Cairo.

“What we see from current discoveries in Mit Rahinah are just snapshots of an ancient city that was once vibrant,” Ilham Ahmed, chief inspector of the archaeological mission, told Arab News.