Tomorrow is already gone if we don’t act now
The actress and activist interviewed on her friend Julian Assange, EU and US politics, and what gives her hope.
DIEM25: How did you get to know Julian Assange – and how did you find him as a person?
Pamela Anderson: I met Julian through Vivienne Westwood. Of course I knew of him and actually put his name in a poem – ‘Smoldering’ - that was published in my online ejournal. I was truly grateful to him for his obvious sacrifice. And when Vivienne recommended we should visit, I really wanted to meet him. I wanted to get his advice on how to be more effective as an activist. His bravery was simply contagious. I admire Julian - his life, his choices.
He is very funny - in a nerdy kind of way. He really wants to make sure you "get" the joke. Layers of meaning. I’m sure you know what I mean. He was endearing this way.
And this embassy was no ‘hotel suite ´. It was a cramped room with one long table where he could receive visitors, lawyers etc. a tiny bathroom with small shower- a mattress on the floor for sleeping, a computer and chair which was occupied by his cat.
He had an unkempt little boy look most of the times when I saw him. He had usually just woken up. His sleep schedule was sporadic. He wore one sweater and baggy jeans over and over and a scarf when he had this nagging cough. He never complained.
But he knew it would all happen this way. Everyone else thought he was paranoid. But as you can see, he knew exactly what he was in for.
He was gagged for a year when the Ecuadorian government cut off his internet and restricted visitors. He could not defend himself publicly while they assassinated his character. He has a tremendous character, integrity and a unique kind of wisdom that makes him unsubjugated in a corrupt world. He would never stop doing what he does. He believes that people have a right to know the truth.
I see hysterical tweeters – who have to mention cheap accusations – it’s like a brain-washing sweep has been done across America. And now with his head on a stick.
Trump first said he loves WikiLeaks: now he says he knows nothing about it.
But they want him in a super-max prison in the US in order to silence him forever. The UK has the historical responsibility to protect Julian Assange.
DIEM25: You visited him a number of times at the Ecuadorian embassy. How did his confinement affect him over that time?
PA: Julian is a testament to the human spirit. We once joked we should get married on the front steps of the embassy. But then he joked that would mean leaving one prison for another.
He seems to overthink everything and he was very aware of what was happening.
I’m sad to have not visited him in the last year. He really cares about people. As individuals – (my little world) – and as entire populations. We spoke of animal issues, Sea Shepherd. PETA. He loved the vegan meals I brought him. He preferred to something he called ’exotic’. Like a whole avocado – simple – healthy and what reminds him of Nature. He would explain the nutritional properties of foods that were ‘whole’. How his mother taught him many things, and encouraged his curiosity – he missed his family . Especially his children. And more recently his cat.
His cat had Julian’s personality. He trusted no one and would watch us from behind the sheer curtain. He didn’t want to be touched or fawned over. But every once in a while he would brush up against you for attention and purr. Like the hugs you would get at the end of a meeting. Like you might not see him again. It’s hard to forget his eyes as you leave. He really appreciated a friendly visit.
DIEM25: Why do you think the US is seeking his extradition on these charges – and what does it say about the US government?
PA: The US government has a lot of skeletons in their closet. And this is proof that there must be more. It’s is not democracy at work. There is a sinister tone.
DIEM25: Some have accused certain Assange supporters for dismissing the Swedish rape allegations because they care more about a narrative of US imperialism. What do you make of this sort of criticism?
PA: I am the first one to say that every woman has to be heard. But there were never charges, only a preliminary investigation which was dropped in the meantime. And I have read every transcript and know that Julian was ready to go to Sweden if they would have guaranteed he wouldn't be extradited to the US. Him ending up in a Guantanamo-style prison in the US wouldn't help any women or advance feminism. Especially when you have in power a womanizer and proven misogynistic locker-room language-user like Mr Trump. You can still sign the petition, which already has almost 100,000 signatures, to prevent the extradition of Assange to the United States.
DIEM25: What do you make of the 2020 US Democratic candidates – which would you be most likely to vote for, and why?
PA: I will vote for Bernie Sanders. The US is in big trouble. We must have a Green New Deal because capitalism is killing the world. I like to think I’m a socialist feminist.
DIEM25: And what do you make of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?
PA: I love her. She is fantastic. I do not agree with all her views. But she is charming, intelligent. She grabs your attention. It is a skill to communicate as she does. And she is extremely effective.
I differ with her on foreign policy (but what do I know) and I just don’t like any idea of authority. Or bosses. I think the world and business could be more cooperative. Not females leading females. But joining forces.
DIEM25: What do you think are the main problems with the EU in its current shape?
PA: Europe desperately needs a Green New Deal, and DiEM25 – running for European elections in Germany, Greece and other countries – is pushing the envelope with a comprehensive and inspiring program. Yanis Varafoukis and his team all across Europe have solutions for some of the major problems and challenges ahead for Europe.
And I am glad Jeremy Corbyn is listening to them and working on a European agenda with them. It won’t be poor people who continue to get the short end of the stick and pay for these greedy companies. There is hope. But it needs to be organized. I am here to help.
Let’s not wait for our children to ask what we have been doing in the early twenty-first century to act against climate change. That's why Extinction Rebellion and the children's school strikes give me hope. They are not waiting for tomorrow: they are reminding us tomorrow is already gone if we don't act now.
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