Peace Women Embrace Greenham Common
The Peace Camp that began in September 1981 to protest about the siting of Cruise Missiles at the Greenham Common RAF Base near Newbury gained worldwide publicity on December 12 1982 as more than 30,000 women linked hands to ‘embrace the base’ as they put it.
Many of their number had been evicted from their makeshift camp in September that year, but in a regular yo-yo battle with the local council the peace women never gave up, and they returned shortly after their expulsion. Indeed, rather strangely some remained long after the missiles about which they were protesting so effectively had been taken away in 1991 after Reagan and Gorbachov signed a treaty limiting their nuclear arsenals – the camp finally closed in 2000.
The protest was a new departure: the women were strident, their ululations annoying even those who were of like mind; they showed determination worthy of their suffragette predecessors ; and although our political masters would never say so, they obviously made their point felt, though exactly how much they influenced debate and decision is moot. But there was something sad about the unwillingness of some to move on once the goal had been attained, as if life at the protest camp had become the point, rather than the point of the camp being protest.
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