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Archive for May, 2012

EPISODE TEN: A LIFE ENHANCING EXPERIENCE

Helen stepped into the peace movement in 1981 when she and four other women chained themselves to the fence at RAF Greenham Common, in protest over the decision to store cruise nuclear missiles on the site.  The ‘Women for Life on Earth’ group initially wanted a televised debate: upon this request being denied, the group began a women’s only peace camp that was to, in various forms, last the best part of nineteen years and at it’s height attract 35,000 women to the base.  Between 1992 – 1993 the nuclear missiles, along with American military personal, returned to the US and a new focus of the women’s peace camp – to give the common land back to the people of Berkshire – began.

For Helen, the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, was life changing.  Leaving her five children and husband behind, she began her new life as a passionate feminist and anti-nuclear campaigner.  In this episode she talks about her decision to become a woman of Greenham and during this conversation I found myself wondering, whether behind every strong, determined and principled individual, lays a few regrets?

FURTHER INFORMATION

To find out more about the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp visit Your Greenham, where you will find a collection of short films, letters to the women and Greenham songs to give you a flavour of what life was like.

See archive footage of Helen at Greenham Common in the short film ‘March to Greenham’.

Hear Helen talk about her experiences of Greenham Common on Radio 4.

CREDITS

This episode could not have been put together without the support of the following people who very kindly donated photographs:

Pete Addis

Paula Allen

Helen John

Jenny Matthews

Liz Somerville at Photofusion

John Sturrock

Mary Timimi

Thanks also to:

John Green

The Morning Star

&

Leon Rosselson who donated ‘The power of Song’.

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EPISODE NINE: WHERE THE QUEEN IS THE LANDLADY

Helen and Sylvia have encountered prison countless times as a consequence for campaigning for a peaceful world.  The direct actions the women take part in, from lying down in front of nuclear truck convoys to cutting fences of military bases, can easily invite police charges.  As a result, whether it’s for Obstruction of the Highway, Breach of the Peace, Criminal Damage, Malicious Mischief, Aggravated Trespass or Breaching the Aviation Security Act, the pair are no strangers to spells in prison.   As Sylvia prepares for a potential prison stay, we hear of their experiences of life behind bars.  Thought there was a stigma to being an ex-convict?  Not with these two!

FURTHER INFORMATION

Sylvia thought she would be imprisoned for non-payment of fines after being found guilty of Obstruction of the Highway for lying down in front of a nuclear truck convoy; instead she was issued with a distraint warrant.  To find out more about this act of protest watch “Sylvia’s been arrested again”. 

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EPISODE EIGHT: COLLATERAL DAMAGE

Helen and Sylvia, along with friends Joan and Joy, take part in a demonstration in Bradford to show their opposition to the replacement of Trident.  Later that evening plans to spend £20bn building a new fleet of submarines to carry Trident nuclear missiles was approved.  This episode shows the women’s heartfelt views on nuclear weapons and how this belief is shared by a younger generation of peace campaigners.

FURTHER INFORMATION

The UK is just 1 of 9 nuclear weapon countries, to find out more about the issues at stake visit Greenpeace and Yorkshire CND.

Find out more about the vote in the House of Commons to upgrade Trident.

The UK Government is a state party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which works towards nuclear disarmament – read the treaty.

CREDITS

“United States” used with permission from Seize The Day.

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EPISODE SEVEN: WE DON’T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND IT

After being charged under section 128 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act for trespassing into US Spy Base, Menwith Hill, Helen and Sylvia take their first steps into court.  This episode condenses their first few court appearances and shows the baffling nature of the British legal system, especially when encountered by two elderly grandmothers.  But the question is: wouldn’t you be confused too?

FURTHER INFORMATION

To find out more about the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, Menwith Hill and Helen and Sylvia’s act of protest which led to the charge, watch episode 2 & 3 in the Opening Trilogy

Find out what Liberty had to say about the importance of protest on the news page.

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EPISODE 6: SYLVIA’S BEEN ARRESTED AGAIN

Not content with trespassing into a US Spy Base, Sylvia continues to campaign for a peaceful world by lying down in front of a nuclear truck convoy and boarding a US military plane.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Find out more about Sylvia’s action at Prestwick Airport and why a few weeks later her fears appeared to be justified.

Over a year later the charges against Sylvia for boarding a US military plane were dropped, to find out more click here.

CREDITS

Photographs of nuclear truck convoys kindly supplied by Fototruck and Nukewatch

Newspaper article “Yorkshire Woman among campaigners accused of airport security breaches” used with permission from the Yorkshire Post.

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