68) Lessons of Community and Solidarity

A few weeks ago, there was a student takeover of universities all over Finland. Students were setting up camp at the universities to protest new government policies impacting the studies at university. 

In those weeks and after I saw a solidarity among the students, the protestors, that were living at the university, setting up programs, teaching each other, studying together, knitting, cooking food for each other, making sure everyone felt safe, even tattooing each other and sharing their skills, knowledge, time and care with each other. A problem of one person suddenly became a problem to solve for a larger group, people asking around if anyone could help, had an idea, or had a piece of equipment. People were taking care of each other, getting to know one another, discussing, agreeing, disagreeing and all the while turning the university into a living room, a resting area, a learning area, a kitchen and a bedroom. Day after Day new tents popped up and the university started looking more and more like a campground.  People were bringing lamps, carpets, were offering and taking workshops on different topics and started acting as a community. People watched documentaries together, stood up for each other and created things together. 

The atmosphere was wonderful, it seemed in these weeks that the university belonged to us, that we belonged to the university and that we were making it our own. That we acted and learned as a community, took care of each other and stood up for our rights and taught each other what we knew. 

Even though the takeover has ended, the community of people taking care of each other and standing up for their rights still exists. People have gotten involved in other causes, now joining each other in peace demonstrations, demanding a ceasefire in Gaza. People still take care of each other, but also stand up in solidarity with people far away, for people they have never met. People are sharing horror and fear together of what is happening and what is to come, but also hope and dreams for peace. Organizing events, going to protests together, sharing resources and petitions. I have learned that communities are strong, resilient, beautiful and that communities grow, flourish and take care of each other. Together we are so much stronger, we are so much safer. Together we are more than we could ever be alone. We need these communities for their own sake, because people are taking care of each other, we need them to evoke changes, we need those communities for peace and care.