Yep, it really was my first time. Trufax. I’ve been in this world for a while now, and vegan for around fifteen of them, but I’d never done a Cube of Truth. Done a few other protests, but I was a Cube virgin before today. I admit that I had been a bit hesitant in the past to de-virgin myself, because I wasn’t sure how long my back would last if I was standing for 2.5 hours. All the requisite bumps and bangs along the way to this point in time, plus a few more, have taken their toll. However, it’s just one of the prices we pay for living a life, and today I was willing to put it to the test.
And what a day to choose for my cube debut! Free bus rides all weekend to celebrate World Car Free Day. Bonus! The weather played nice, too. Would I have gone if it hadn’t played nice? Maybe I won’t dig too deep into that one, in case I don’t like the answer. Today, I also learned that in 2017, humans killed 75 billion land animals, up from the 60 billion figure previously cited. My heart breaks – but I know that that doesn’t help the animals much. It did give me an extra push to get out the door, though.
So, what is a Cube of Truth? It’s silent and non-confrontational activism, that also deliberately embodies a live art installation. Participants form a cube shape, and either hold a device showing truthful images of what is done to animals on their way to our plates, or a sign. They do nothing else, and say nothing, but get to wear very cool masks. The masks make the Cubers anonymous, so that the images are what the public focus on. The outreach part of the team are the ones who will engage with the public.
Today, sixteen of us are taking part in it, with a surprising 50/50 gender split (or thereabouts). I say surprising, because we all know that around 70-80% of Vegans are women. But at the end of the day, no-one’s really counting, as long as we just turn up. Dom Mallard, vegan activist extraordinaire, gives the group a run-down of the expected behaviour and protocol, and then we’re away cubing and out-reaching.
This particular cube is made up of four Cubers at a time. This is when I realise that the vision I had of standing in a cube for the whole 2.5 hours of the activism, was kinda wrong. We rotate between cubing and out-reaching, doing about twenty minutes at a time standing still in the cube. My back doesn’t join in the protest, after all. I confess I wasn’t very good at the outreach part when I wasn’t in the cube, but I’m confident I’ll get better – and, who knows, maybe I’ll even get confident. I reckon I did of pretty good job of standing in the cube with a mask on, though.
Above all else, it felt good to be doing something, instead of just thinking I should do something. I knew I was too much of a wimp to do activism like the recent supermarket disruption in Auckland, but doing nothing was getting harder to do. Even I wasn’t believing myself any longer, when I’d tell myself that I’ve done my bit, and now it’s the ‘young ones’ turn. Activism needs to be representative of all of us.
So, whatever thoughts we might have on the supermarket disruption, it galavanised me to go to my first Cube of Truth. It felt like something I could do, and feel effective and safe at the same time. Did I mention that I was a bit of a wimp? Of course, it’s always fab to be with a group of Vegans, too. And Vegans doing activism do tend to have a ‘vibe’ going on.
The Cube of Truth in Christchurch is on every fortnight, and arranged by activism juggernauts, Dom Mallard and Kelvin Penetana. I guess I’ll be seeing them again
Anonymous for the Voiceless FB group.