Saturday, July 28, 2007

Aldermaston arrest

After a week of walking, at times in the flooded Thames River area, we arrived at Aldermaston, nuclear weapons producer, which is also working on new laser facility. We vigiled with a supportive group, then four of us stepped into the gate road to block traffic. Three strong young folks locked hands and feet together, Dan from London at 32, Lianna and Ita from Atlanta at 23 and 19. Ita arrived the day before. What a team! Police needed special pressure point tactics to separate them before arrest. Meanwhile Gandhi was pushed aside. They did not want to arrest him. Gandhi persisted. He was arrested after the others were hauled off. I kept coming back on the road, despite the loving solicitude of the police. We will be charged with a new law, called the By Laws, which are as vague as the US Congress Guantanamo laws which were denied by the courts. We are now released.

Police were the ultimate in courtesy. While the other three were occupying the police with their resistance, I faced a whole line of police between me and the others, most much bigger than I. One by one I entered conversation with them on various subjects related to our present environment. One, a former Trident crew member, who has even been to Bangor, and was a crusty guy to start, said "In other circumstances, I'd take you out for a pint." After arriving at the police station, the other three were still outside awaiting entrance with their arresting officers. The wait was long. This enabled some conversation. My officer was a fine young man, as were the others. It is regarded as an honor to be a policeperson in the UK.

My Gandhi message which I beamed out while on the street before they pushed me aside was: Aldermaston must be closed. Radiation kills. Aldermaston gets its nuclear materials from uranium mines which are killing now. Accidents here allow radiation into the environment, finding its way into humans and animals. The Bombs will kill when used. Radiation will kill even in the disposed wastes.

This message is a result of the walk. Compare it to my action message at Faslane when I quoted Gandhi's comments on the Atom Bomb.

At the vigil before the citizen's action in the road, I read a victim's of the Atom Bomb at Hiroshima account. It was graphic and moving. I hope to create some kind of litany before our August 6th gatherings in London.

We are now resting for two days, real rest! Then, we move out Monday morning after witnessing another action at Aldermaston by the Muriel Lester Affinity Group.

An aside, While on our last rest before entering the Aldermaston Base, I was looking for a toilet at a closed restaurant. An Indian gentleman inside noticed and invited me in with the comment "You look like Gandhi!" After telling him what we were doing and what I am doing, he took my picture alone and with him, read my statement, and gave me a glass of ginger ale. He invited me back with "I love what you are doing." You never know what unexpected person you will meet.

Today is sunny and nice. The flood waters are receding. On Tuesday, July 24th, The Independent of England said that this is the wettest period on record, wetter than the record set in 1947. The article's analysis attributed it to global warming. (A one day walker told me of her recent voyage up the Norway Coast to the Arctic, led by a geologist who laid out the trends in global warming beginning in 1920. No doubt in my mind.)

Well, one more week til August 6th, the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Peace, Bernie


Julie said...

We are so glad to hear you are all safe from the floods. Glad the floodwaters are receding and the sun is out. Also glad to hear of your arrest, and release--and glad about your wonderful work for the abolition of the nuclear weapons.

peace and gratitude--

Julie said...

Hi again--we are all so happy you weren't harmed by the floodwaters--you were just arrested. (smiley face goes here). Kind of a new perspective on being arrested. Thanks for going to jail for peace and justice. whew.

Molly said...

Hello, Bernie:
It really strikes me as a brave thing to do, to walk in extreme weather conditions, be in hot desert or constant rain. I burn a candle for you at night and hope your spirits and body stay strong. 700 miles is an incredibly long walk. Eager to hear your stories.

No surprise that the climate change is intensely experienced where you are walking; it seems somehow, appropriate. I'm guessing that might be your spin on the weather!