(We’ve changed the present tense [“is”] to past tense [“was”].)

by Rodney Hide

One of the most invigorating things about Camp Freedom was the absence of fear. The protesters weren’t scared. They moved freely amongst the crowd and greeted and socialised in the usual human ways. There were smiles, handshakes and hugs.

I am not a hugger but I could not help myself. I hugged at Freedomville. I felt human. I was a person not a biohazard.

It was so unbelievably joyful.

To step into the camp was to step into freedom. Stepping out was to cross back into tyranny where people fear each other and wear filthy hankies tied across their faces in a madcap attempt to stay safe.

It’s the lack of fear that made for freedom and provided joy. Having left the Camp, I want back. The Camp was normal life to me; outside is weird, miserable, irrational and tyrannical.

It is the same feeling I had crossing Checkpoint Charlie. It wasn’t the prosperity that you missed but the freedom and the joy. And when you crossed back you left the fear behind. The fear was etched in people’s faces and made you fearful. Fear is infectious. But so is courage.

There was also the particular joy that comes with successfully defying a tyrannical parliament on their front lawn and outside their front window. There’s a brotherhood and comradeship that comes with living behind enemy lines in hostile territory.

A Parliament that locked us up at home for months couldn’t kick us off their lawn. How marvellous was that? That is a feeling that can’t be beat. We will never be locked up again. And the mandates will go. It was wonderful to be a part of that.

There was also breathtaking resourcefulness with the Camp; an exhibition of Kiwi spirit and ingenuity. It was astonishing what was achieved without plan or organisation, but with skill, commitment and a can-do Kiwi attitude. I love it.

And it generated a spirit that is palpable. It’s the ANZACs pinned at Gallipoli showing huge resourcefulness and courage.

I want to go back to Camp Freedom to revel once more in the freedom and to feel the comradeship. And to defeat tyranny.

I thought the protesters would need moral support. They don’t. It was me who needed it. They love it there. I loved it there.

I went to thank the protesters. But once there it wasn’t enough. I want to be them. I want to share in their freedom, their courage, their joy, their success.

I went to denounce our MPs and journalists. But didn’t. They have been made fearful. They are scared of getting sick. They are scared of the protesters. They have nappies tied to their faces, they socially distance and stay high up in their parliamentary tower cowering behind a wall backed by police.

The protesters on the Berlin Wall weren’t lawful. They were a rag tag lot. They had no leader. The media denounced them. They upset the neighbours. But the Wall came down.

It’s time ours did.

(from Bassett, Brash and Hide)