If you ate today, thank a farmer
“I cannot breathe, I cannot breathe
“I cannot breathe, I cannot breathe…, to No farmers, No food! No farmers, No food!” thoughts racing through my mind. I question myself “Are we safe? How much longer do we have to face this? What’s next?”
2020 was a crazy year to say the least for everyone from Australian Bushfires to a worldwide pandemic. Most importantly BAME people have been affected in many other ways which has not been covered in a justice way.
Are we criminals?
Recently in India the government and Indian Parliament have spoken about the introductory of new agricultural laws. They had proposed 3 bills: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act. These bills will lead to the rules around the commodity prices being loosened. This means that corporations are more able to exploit the farmers as they have greater power to set the prices. The main aim of these laws was to remove major issues of the agricultural sector, for example improper and inefficient uses of natural resources. In August these discussions and Farm bills were made public which has caused many farmers in Punjab to the streets.
9th August. Protests started to take place all over India from Punjab itself to Rajasthan. Thousands and thousands of farmers headed to the streets with some in cars, others in buses and many on their tractors as they made their voices heard. Many people, especially the youth, are holding slogans that say, “If you ate today, thank a farmer”. This shows the respect and impact farmers have on the lives of the next generation. Furthermore, people are using their social media accounts to bring awareness about these unfortunate events. This makes people think about the impact of these bills on farmers and families across the world.
22nd September the unforgettable day when these bills were passed and later signed by President Ram Nath Kovind. Tensions had drastically heightened as these bills had become acts in which actions could be taken if broken. This had led to many nation-wide strikes which was seen as many protests had blocked highways, completely shutting transport such as trains, mass gatherings outside government buildings, etc. The main aim of these protests was to abolish the bills as it seems to benefit corporations rather than farmers.
100 days and counting
Shockingly more than 100 days later protests are still happening in Dehli where many innocent people are getting abused and mistreated. The poor and elderly are getting beaten and hurt for peaceful protesting and standing up for what they feel is right. As well as this, doctors that have attended these protests are also being abused despite providing a service to the injured officers. The horrible treatment had started as the Delhi police used weapons such as water cannon and tear gas; these were thrown upon peaceful protesters. This is unjust and not fair upon farmers and their families as they are trying to make a change. Farmers don’t deserve this treatment especially when they caused no harm to anyone. Recently Wi-Fi lines in and around Delhi were cut off for a while but has now reported to be working again. These shocking actions from the State makes it difficult for people to contact their loved ones around the world. What have they done to deserve this?
Love and support have been shown from many people around the world through protests being held and many songs and artwork that have been published. There has been many paintings and illustrations from artists expressing themselves and their views on the protests. Many famous Punjabi singers have been releasing songs about the protests that have taken place which can be seen as a form of motivation to encourage as many people as possible to show their love and support for the truth. These songs have been over 10 million views. Furthermore, the farmers have received a lot of support from people like Rihanna and Greta Thunberg. This shows that these protests and the introduction of the new bills are having an impact on people who have no immediate relation to farmers and their families. This is truly amazing to see!!
Support has also been shown through the use of social media where people have addressed the issues regarding the protests; there are also videos that clearly summarise and highlight the issues regarding the bills. As well as using social media to highlight the importance of the farmers protests, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP has addressed the current situation in India regarding the protests and the impacts on relatives living abroad. He also questioned the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, as to whether he would convey the worries of the thousands of relatives and supporters worries to the Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi and his opinion on the current climate.
Due to his apparent lack of knowledge regarding the situation about the farmers’ protest, Mr Johnson was unable to answer the questions effectively. This clearly shows there is very limited media coverage because someone as powerful as Mr Johnson was seemingly unaware of what was happening. Furthermore, he questioned Jacob Rees-Mogg MP as to whether this important matter would be held up for a debate. However, similar to Mr Johnson he was also unable to answer the question.
Farmers have received love and support from their community all over the world with a record-breaking number of approximately 250 million people. This clearly shows the extent it affects the community as they are receiving love from all over the world. Furthermore, there was a record-breaking protest in London on the 8th December as well as the record-breaking protest that had taken place in India on the 26th January – India’s Republic Day. This shows the impact that it has on people outside the country as well as farmers themselves. It is utterly amazing to see hundreds and thousands of people from all over the world showing support.
These horrifying actions have led to unity, everyone now stands together. We are one and want change.
What have we done to deserve this? Is this injustice right towards those who feed us?