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Written while its well-known author was in jail, this is the fascinating story of a 72-year-old grandmother turned ecological warrior. When Betty Krawczyk participated in the Elaho Valley, British Columbia, struggle between a forestry company and citizens concerned about rare ancient forests, little did she know that she would become one of the most visible faces of that protest. This book covers her much publicized arrest, trial and sentencing.
Lock Me Up or Let Me Go is also a moving story about the struggle to take one's place as an ""elder"" in our society. At its heart is Betty's complex relationship with her lively mother.
In the year 2000 a 71-year-old grandmother became one of BC's most notorious criminals. Betty Krawczyk, a transplanted Louisiana native, was arrested for trying to prevent logging in the old-growth forest of the province's Elaho Valley, a few hours north of Vancouver. She wasn't alone in the arrest, but Krawczyk certainly received the most attention. White-haired, feisty, and articulate, she swiftly became the poster granny for anti-logging protestors and an example set by the powers that be of what would happen to anyone daring to interfere with the province-given rights of logging companies like Interfor. In Lock Me Up or Let Me Go, the ragin' granny tells the story of the ensuing court battle and her stay in the Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women as she awaits the trial's outcome. It's powerful stuff: the working-class Krawczyk's strong sense of injustice and plain but illuminating prose style make for some blood-boiling passages, especially when describing firsthand the fundamental inequities in the system. The problem, says Krawczyk, is that logging protestors are arrested under a court-ordered injunction rather than for an actual infraction. What this means is that protestors are charged not with the so-called crime of trying to prevent ""the murder of our old growth forests,"" but with contempt of court. As the author notes, ""It is as though Interfor and Mr. Justice Parrett and the Premier and the Attorney General are all dancing a quadrille while the ancient trees are falling and the forest animals are being driven to extinction by the annihilation of their homeland.""
But Lock Me Up or Let Me Go is much more than an anti-logging manifesto. Krawczyk also describes her relationships with her children and pokes fun at her four attempts at marriage. She goes off on tangents about civil rights, the pointlessness of long-term incarceration, and the imprisonment of women by a male-dominated culture. She charts the development of her own social conscience while flashing back to her Louisiana upbringing. In the most affecting passages, she reflects on the time spent with her mother during Mama's final days in Vicksburg, Mississippi, two years before the trial. Krawczyk does all this without ever resorting to cliché or sentiment, or losing sight of her main point--that it is up to all of us to preserve the life-giving forests, not just for our sakes but for our children's. --Shawn Conner
About the Author
Betty Krawczyk was raised in Louisiana and emigrated to Canada in 1966. Her first book, Clayoquot: The Sound of My Heart was shortlisted for the VanCity Book Prize.
- ISBN: 9781551924656