By tracey, submitted on Wed, 11/10/2006 - 04:45
This is Noooo Faff!, a wee group from the Deeside area (yes, THAT part of Deeside) and not quite having got its act together to actively join the blockade at Faslane Nuclear Submarine Base, it seemed that the best way would be to go down to support those who were doing the blockade of the gates in the first days of the Faslane365 action. People felt they needed to get some impressions of what was going on and speak to people who were getting involved, as well as to meet more of those from the Highland areas who are focusing on Faslane, but active in other areas too, such as land reform, permaculture and peace. After an early start and a stop off at a nasty-but-cheap multinational for a pile of food ( yes, we should have been better organised and shopped locally,…) it was around noon when we arrived, the roundabout at the North Gate of Faslane already all dressed up in banners and flags, a ceilidh planned to keep the afternoon focused. This was the work of the Highland contingent, the third group to take over the gates blockade at the Faslane nuclear submarine base, the previous few days having seen the Womans Blockade, including Greenham Common women and Women in Black. People filled us in on what to expect: …..”well the Assynt people will be getting arrested this afternoon, as they’d like to get home for tomorrow night, and the horticulturalists will be getting arrested in the morning…” How do you go about getting arrested? “Well, we haven’t got organised for a lock on, so we will be doing a bit of Strip the Willow across the road..,” For those who don’t know Strip the Willow, it has to be said this is the perfect choice for a blockade dance: two rows of people linking at the arms and spinning each other around. A Highland answer to a lock-on… If you had passed by the base today you would have seen a whole load of people doing traditional Scottish dances and looking like they are having a really good time in front of this razor wire decorated site filled with weapons of mass destruction, weapons due to be upgraded to the tune of 75 billion pounds…But dance, laughter and talk all bond people, and the choice of ‘tactic’ for protest was not accidental. Wilma, the Assynt dance teacher (lessons Monday night!), explained that the ceilidh is about coming together, something they do regularly where they come from, and she said the group had decided together that this was an appropriate way to pass time at the gates. For her, the gathering for a ceilidh showed a deeper communication between people, and she hoped, doing more of this would show we don’t need such things as nuclear weapons and bases. It was an inspiring time, the Assynt people had come prepared to draw on their roots and offer their vision, drawing inspiration from the past which they shared through readings, poetry and song. There was space for everyone, which we were pleased to be able to a small part of. Today’s action was another example of the multi-dimensional character of the protest movement. To have an impact on the base itself is an intent but along the way we danced, talked, hugged and connected in a more meaningful way than the confines of our daily lives tend to allow. People practicing mindfulness together has an impressive impact, not only on the focus but also on ourselves as people, a way of making us whole again. The base itself is intimidating but we managed, on a roundabout in the middle of the road, to have a genuine, traditional ceilidh, sharing the warmth and wisdom of the anti-nuclear community.