By David Fairhall
Whilst a small workforce of girls got down to march to Greenham one summer season day on the finish of August 1981, none of them may have imagined that this day out might switch their lives without end. Nor did they dream that their gesture that day may touch off a feminist protest circulate that will final for many years spreading its impact the world over. This hugely unique and evocative historical past of the typical strains the advance of the protests from the summer time of that yr throughout the climax of the chilly warfare to the current day. it's a quintessentially English story within which a disparate crew of devoted and occasionally fractious girls confront the whole army may well of the USA, not just to elevate their voices opposed to nuclear guns but in addition to guard the traditional customs and rights of universal flooring. As alive to the women's matters as to the broader political implications, Fairhall paints a vibrant photograph of existence at Greenham, from the demanding situations and frustrations of the night raids and appearances in court docket to the exuberant self-expression of the camps on the quite a few rainbow-coloured Gates. extra lately, he indicates how the good citizens of Newbury, the place the ladies have been usually given this kind of antagonistic reception, have used a similar legislation exploited by means of the ladies of their personal struggle to revive the traditional rights of public entry to the typical and shield it as open heathland for destiny generations. The protests at Greenham universal are a robust image of the twentieth century which nonetheless arouse powerful emotions this day. there are numerous "Greenham girls" nonetheless round. yet what did they truly in attaining? As public hindrance focuses either at the proliferation of recent guns of mass destruction and the necessity to defend the threatened British panorama, this can be a well timed second to contemplate their legacy.
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Additional resources for Common Ground: The Story of Greenham
The women’s march from Wales was of course still far over the horizon, but the stage was now set for an extraordinary protest that would make Greenham Common a familiar name far beyond the boundaries of the county of Berkshire. Women’s Peace Camp The camp acquired its name by an extremely roundabout route. News of the protest, barely noticed throughout the rest of Britain, was instantly picked up – for obvious propaganda reasons – by an East German radio station. From there it was somehow relayed around the world, so that a few days later a letter arrived from Australia addressed to ‘The Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp’.
More positively, the women were determined to experiment with their own form of non-violent protest. They wanted to assert their identity, to take their own decisions in a way their pre-Greenham lives had not always permitted, to represent themselves in dealing with the authorities. In short, they preferred to run their own show. And a press release announcing the new policy went further: the peace camp intended, or at any rate hoped, to deal only with female representatives of the authorities and the ‘media’.
Looking back at it all many years later, Helen felt that for her that cold December weekend ‘was when Greenham really started’. Thousands of women made their ﬁrst visit – but not their last – and in doing so took their ﬁrst political action. The peace camp no longer consisted of a small, obstinate group. It had become the centre of a mass protest, continuously monitored by press and television, sustained by a countrywide web of women’s support groups. A Greenham rainbow Among those who became intoxicated by Greenham that winter was Lorna Richardson, a dark-haired schoolgirl from Kingston-upon-Thames.