Sunday, 4 September 2011

30 years on - Greenham Common

Tomorrow (September 5th) marks the 30th anniversary of the arrival of the Welsh group, Women for Life on Earth, at Greenham Common. I was four at the time and the first time Greenham Common entered my vocabulary was via Neil from "The Young Ones". Sadly, it was many years later when I discovered who the women at Greenham were and why they were there.

Global thermonuclear war was however very real and present in my life as a boy. The film War Games showed us how easy it would be for a computer to have a malfunction and blow us all to oblivion, in English Literature GCSE, we read Carries War, watched When the Wind Blows and were encouraged to write post-apocalyptic poetry about how all this made us feel.

I drew this emblem on one of my school books. When my Father saw it, he challenged me asking "What have you drawn that for?"  I said "It's a peace symbol." and he grunted and muttered that he was glad that it wasn't anything to do with those Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament idiots "No, no." I said, not knowing anything about CND, but suspecting that I would probably sympathise with their aims if it meant not being turned into radioactive dust or growing another leg.

I've spent this evening listening to news reports, songs and recollections of events at the Women's Peace Camp and especially enjoyed first hand acounts written in Reading's "Red Rag" free newspaper. It gives a glimpse of the fun, the arrests, the bailiffs, the freedom experienced in standing up for something you believe in, the brutality they faced, the spirituality, legal wrangles, how they created a 14-mile human chain with 70,000 people from all over the country, and a lasting impression of how bloody hard the whole thing was.

The camp closed  on September 5th 2000 having been granted permission to create a memorial to the many struggles fought and won on the land.

There are no U.S. nuclear missiles at Greenham now - just a business park that funds local worthy causes and a nice bit of recreational ground.

Well done, girls. xx

1 comment:

Mrs T said...

Good on you Paul for honouring these women, i remember it being on the news I was age 9, and my Dad saying how silly these women were, but I was intrigued by them, how they stood up against the system, I also remember him telling me not to buy a CND badge with the words "Give Peace a chance" on, when we went to CAT whilst on holiday in wales a few years later, but the symbol stayed with me, and the feeling that standing up for what you believe in, and supporting those that get out there and do it is a good thing, not silly not stupid, but good. Honour to the Greenham Common women, xx I will tell my daughters about them x