"Crazy Monkey Hippies", Indeed!
By Debra J. Saunders
For a year now, protesters have been squatting on trees at UC-Berkeley's Memorial Stadium to protest plans to build a $125 million sports training center. When protesters fall from the trees and break their bones, as has happened at least twice, people laugh and liberals start to wonder if perhaps there is a god.
Over the years, activists have lodged many protests to fight severe injustices in the world, such as racial inequality and genocide. At times, I've disagreed with protesters -- on the Iraq war, for example -- but I at least had to respect their commitment to make a difference on a life-and-death issue.
In the case of the "People's Perch" -- as some are calling the year-long Bezerkley tree-squat -- never before has so much been done for a cause so trivial. The tree-sitters argue that in fighting to save some 100 trees, they are protecting "a healthy, functioning native oak ecosystem." One problem: The stadium property is not pristine wilderness. Most of those trees owe their existence to UC landscaping.
"People call us crazy monkey hippies," one tree-squatter told The San Francisco Chronicle's Carolyn Jones, "but this is the greatest thing I've ever done." Except the tree squatters have achieved nothing. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara Miller issued an injunction that barred the university from felling the trees. The squatters could have walked away 11 months ago, and the trees would still be standing. It's lawyers, not aging adolescents swinging in the trees, who have kept UC chainsaws at bay.
While the tree squatters have called UC "arrogant" and allmighty, in fact, it is the oak activists who take the prize for arrogance and rule-breaking.