Greetings, British Wizarding World!
I have wondered from time to time whether our chats are really doing any good. Whether the points I try to make are falling on deaf ears or whether some of my reminders of life before the Protectorate can even reach those younger people who have never known what it was like to live in a free nation.
Because make no mistake, the country’s wards are more like prison walls than protective garden hedgerows. They may keep the rest of the world from tearing down the illusion of wizarding supremacy but they also - and primarily - serve to keep captive a people who are oppressed and brutalised by their cagers.
I do not just mean muggles or muggleborn, although Merlin knows they are sorely tried by the abuses they receive. Over the last two days, in particular, we’ve seen the dangers of a government and of leaders who truly believe themselves above reproach, who truly think that they and they alone can decide what is right to think and believe, who truly disregard the personal freedom - obligation - to call the question, to doubt.
Sophie Fleet is a thirteen-year-old girl who until yesterday was a typical Hogwarts student. Without cause, she was forced to read in public a message she had written to her mother. She was then called before Ministry staff, including one of the most contemptible members of the Aurors, to reveal the content of messages she and her mother had exchanged over several months. Because she expressed a twinge of doubt regarding the motives and methods of the Protectorate, she was put to the question under physical torture until she ‘confessed’ to treason.
This morning, before the entire school, her wand was snapped and she and her mother are both being sent to the camps, where other members of her family may soon follow.
All because she dared to voice a dissenting opinion.
Because no teenager has ever expressed frustration with her life, the lives of others, the world, the universe, the unfairness of teachers, the arbitrary nature of fate, the evil of enemies (or even friends), the decisions of parents or the shortcomings of the future. Imagine if you will the improbability of a teen finding fault with the status quo.
My point is that if this young witch could be tortured and coerced into a confession when she had done nothing but mildly observe that life sometimes doesn’t work the way one wishes, or that her teachers seemed to wish her ill, then think what might happen to anyone who dares disagree. Hundreds of years ago, muggles persecuted each other on suspicion of witchcraft and thousands of young girls, some as young as Sophie, were tortured until they invented stories of deeds that even wizards cannot achieve. All because they were desperate to make the pain stop.
Friends, we’ve taken one step closer to that benighted point of view today. Not even your children’s thoughts are safe from intrusion.
Privacy is not a ‘privilege’ as Dolores Umbridge would have it: It is a basic right to which all people - muggle, squib or magical - have a claim. Here are some other basic rights I and those who fight alongside me also uphold:
The right to learn to use magic if one is born with the ability, regardless of bloodline;
The right to liberty and the freedom to choose where and how one makes one’s living;
The right to contact with one’s loved ones, be they muggle, squib or magical;
The right to think and speak freely in agreement with or dissent from authority without fear of reprisal;
The right to conduct one’s business without inflicting or becoming the victim of random violence;
The right to live peacefully and without fear of government detention, arrest or attack without just cause;
The right to food, clothing, shelter, healing care and education for all, regardless of magical birthright;
The right to fair pay in exchange for labour, goods or services rendered for all people, by mutual agreement of both labourer and beneficiary.
If you find that this list represents many of the things the Protectorate lacks, then you know the Grim Truth: You are not a citizen, but a prisoner; not a patriot, but an activist; not a collaborator, but a revolutionary.
My allies and I were once like you, isolated and unsure how to fight against what seemed an unstoppable and growing mass of dark wizards. We found each other and have for years been working together quietly, slowly, carefully, but steadily, to reverse the course this country has blindly taken over the last fifteen years. Here is how:
When you read this, if you agree, find one person you trust. Agree to meet that person the next day and introduce that person to a second person who also agrees. Now there are four of you. And so on. Take that step, just that one, and you will find more allies than you knew existed. Together, action becomes not only possible but imperative.