The Ban Bus had now been on the road over 60 days and driven about 12,000 km. We are all really tired and the ware and tear on us as people is definitely starting to show. We pulled out of Stockholm for the final drive to Oslo and the treaty signing. The Ban Bus was packed from floor to ceiling and this day would be a huge one with over 700 km more to go. The beginning of this odyssey seems so far away now but so much has been done in these two months. We have spoken to thousands of people, politicians and the media, created campaigns where they didn’t exist and fought to change opinions where ever we went. The Ban Bus has struggled through a financial crisis’s and potential bankruptcy and come out in tact and with a great job done.
Most of the countries that we did go through were hard nut Europeans and much of the route followed the Russian border. We never expected this to be easy but the ability to engage and set up contacts where none existed was one of our real strengths. The issue of cluster bombs is well and truly on many national agendas now and politicians and diplomats now know they can not shrug the issue off any more. It must be addressed and addressed soon.
The campaign will go on as the hard job is now before us. With half the world signed onto the treaty, the other half now needs doubled efforts put into them to get them onboard too. Only when we have universalisation of this treaty and full stigmatisation of the weapon can we relax our efforts.
In the immortal words of Winston Churchill, “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end but it might just be the end of the beginning”.
After our final night in a small motel on the highway near Oslo we drove into the city. The moment felt surreal and a little hollow too. Mette had done the most amazing job in pulling all of the Ban Bus together. In so many ways it was her project. Davor had driven through think and thin against a psycho GPS into megalopolises with no maps and brought us all safely though. Daniel had milked the media for every drop available and filmed the whole journey. Kevin had come on in Estonia and added great military weight to all the arguments and I had just kept talking and typing. Together we had become a very tight little team and the thought of us all heading in different directions seemed strange.
The drive into Oslo first took us to the Norwegian parliament to speak about our interactions with politicians and members of parliament. We then drove onto the place where all the NGO’s were meeting and planning what comes next. As we pulled up at the front, a sea of the greatest people power was there to greet us. There were old and new friends with one singular goal in common, a complete ban on the Use, Manufacture, Stockpiling and Trade in Cluster Bombs.