i joined the demonstration at aldermaston AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment) on 1st april that the CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) had organised. the weather was hostile, the police officers friendly, the turnout low, the spirit high – at some point a bit too high as i overheard a very angry pacifist arguing loudly with a very angry AWE worker who threw at him all the benefits his family and their village experiences from the AWE…
i have to admit here that much as i’ve got very clear political views (bordering on pacifism) i dread rational arguments about them because i’m not very good at them: i don’t have a memory for facts & figures plus get so stressed in a heated argument that i mix up the few remaining facts and get all flustered and just really don’t make a good case for nuclear disarmament or non-violence in general.
on the non-rational side i’ve got some clear believes, though, and i realised that again in the past 2 weeks prompted by conversations with friends about the CND activism and the hostility building up between north korea and south korea & the US. this current global crisis reminds me so very strongly of growing up in the western side of a divided germany during the 1970s and 1980s. we grew up with the firm knowing that a 3rd world war was imminent, was a matter of a few more years at most – and would inevitably be unimaginatively destructive and wipe out the whole of our country (yes, very paradoxically both east & west) plus much more. i remember going to school believing it could happen any day, thinking of places to hide, wondering whether i’d still be alive when i was 20 and finished with school.
it really was a ‘knowing’, it was not just an anxiety; it was obvious, it was visible, audible, feel-able. it was intense and scary. it was beyond what our parents could protect us from. it was a weird growing up without a sense of future . it was surreal – and yet the most real thing in my life then.
obviously the miracle then happened, miraculously brought about by people, millions of committed active involved people – and the idea of a 3rd world war was shelved somewhere high up in a hidden corner. not altogether gone. ready to be taken down again whenever needed, when in need of a threat – like now in the situation surrounding north korea. i don’t want to be back there where a future is unthinkable, undreamable, where i’m invited to think in big fat terms of ‘enemy’ and ‘ally’, where a sense of solidarity and community gets corroded by the spread of fear, selfishness and disconnect, where the only option seem destruction.
that’s why i’ve gone to aldermaston on a freezing cold easter monday. that’s why i’m now starting to knit my piece for peace inspired by Jaine Rose’s campaign Wool Against Weapons to send a bright pink message out to the world: let there be hope, let there be a sense of future, let there be pink so that ‘between killing and dying there’s a third way: living‘ (Christa Wolf).
here’s Jaine in action at aldermaston last weekend promoting her guerrilla knitting/crocheting campaign… maybe it’ll inspire you too to knit a piece for peace?