Good morning [name redacted],
I just saw your mail about my absence from October 7th and 8th.
I was hesitant to comment openly or to take advantage of "personal days" or "personal reasons" to go to Madrid on those days.
I have been participating for months in a global movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to stop the 6th mass extinction and minimize the risk of social collapse. We have been destroying life on the planet in giant steps and now have a few years, perhaps months, to bring about historic change.
Like Greta Thunberg, I find myself in an uncomfortable situation. I need to skip whole days of work so that my students, nieces and nephews have a decent future. What is the point of studying if we are heading towards a social and environmental collapse at full speed? What is the point of teaching as if nothing were happening?
I wouldn't at all like to "ask for days off work" to dedicate myself to a hobby. But it is not a hobby, it is an emergency and humanity together will share the consequences of our passivity if we do not act in the few months of margin of action we have left.
For more than 50 years, scientists have alerted us and we have not given answers that match the scale of the challenge.
So, I will be in Madrid on the 7th, with hundreds of people from Barcelona who have trained with me in nonviolent civil disobedience. We will face the politicians, a system that fails us and we will propose another model of coexistence on Earth.
On Monday the 7th, I may be arrested, so I asked for another personal day on the 8th in case I have to spend the night in a police station in Madrid. My plan is to be at home on the 8th at night and on the 9th in the morning in the classroom with our students.
I insist, I am not comfortable with this approach. However, I would feel even more uncomfortable, infinitely more, when realizing in ten years time that I could have done something to avoid the chaos and did not. I don't have children, I can take risks.
Having said that, I love my work and this struggle would be meaningless if it did not have as its background the training of the next generations in multilingualism and in intercultural, respectful and ethical dialogue, as I have done for the last fifteen years.
I would be delighted to talk about it in person with you.
Let me know when would be a good time to talk.