Marie Vesco RIP
Marie Vesco, a French activist involved with the London direct action groups Whitechapel Food Not Bombs and Brixton Reclaim Our Food (amongst others) was killed whilst cycling to the Carnival Against the Arms Trade on Wednesday.
Marie was part of a group of twelve cyclists who left Brixton in the early hours of the morning to join the Smash EDO demo. They were on the A23 by Burgess Hill when an impatient gas guzzling imbecile swerved across two lanes straight into Marie, then another car hit her. She died instantly, there was nothing her friends could have done. The driver of the second car got straight on his phone as soon as he came to a halt - not for an ambulance but to call his lawyer. He then started pushing Marie’s mates around. One driver was nicked.
Marie was just a few days away from her 20th birthday, and a massively popular figure on the London activist scene. She was a warm, loud, fun, vivacious figure with an infectious laugh that was always ready to help others. Until recently she lived at the Ramparts social centre, where she was always on hand help with skipping for food, cooking and helping out. Her friends also said that she loved to flirt - everyone asked for her number. She had suggested doing the last part of the bike ride naked.
Part of the Food Not Bombs group, just the day before she died, they'd been outside McDonalds in Brixton with a sound system and a load of free vegan burgers for the Climate Day of Action (see A La Dust Carte in this issue). She had plans to start a social centre of her own.
When the news of her death was broken to the crowd that had just escaped the clutches of the police on Brighton’s Level there was a minute’s silence for her.
Her friends, as well as the wider activist community, are devastated by the news of her death. She had done so much for other people in her life in such a small time, we will never know what else she could have achieved. Her friends have said that they take some consolation in the knowing that her life will inspire them and others to carry on the causes that she left behind.
Her death brings it home just how dangerous it can be to do the right thing. Although the A23 is supposedly OK for cyclists, there are no cycle lanes, and bikes are expected to compete for space with caffeine addled truckers and wankers in 4x4s. The cost of a proper cycle network wouldn’t exactly break the bank of the world’s 5th richest country, but the government is in bed with the car and oil industries. This isn’t gonna stay like this though, as cyclists are a notoriously tight bunch, and are prepared to fight tooth and cog for road space. Critical Mass bike rides are held at the end of the month all over the world, and their pedal power is a fun way of imparting a serious message. The London Critical Mass makes a point of stopping at the site of fatal crashes involving cyclists. Make sure you’re there at next Critical Mass; whatever town you’re in make it massive.
Whitechapel Food Not Bombs www.londonfnb.org/whitechapel/home.html
Brixton Reclaim Your Food http://wordpress.com/tag/reclaim-your-food