04 October 2005
Today's Tribute - the figs and vines peace gardeners
It takes special people to change the world. As George Orwell put it, "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act".
Today I pay a slightly belated tribute to the Aldermaston Vine & Fig Tree Planters who told the truth on the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima recently.
In the early hours of Friday 5th August, they planted vines and fig trees inside and outside the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, UK, transforming it into a garden of peace and justice.
The group arrived at dawn, cut a garden gate in the perimeter fence and entered carrying spades, trowels, watering cans, five vines and five fig trees, which they proceeded to plant. Arriving police were offered a choice of grapes, fig rolls, grape juice or wine. Some of the police chose the grapes and then arrested all nine on suspicion of criminal damage to the perimeter fence.
The previous day, Thursday 4th August, gardeners had planted a vine and a fig tree outside the main gate of AWE Aldermaston and informed the authorities of their intention to return and continue the peaceful conversion of the base.
My heroes are: Sr Susan Clarkson (England), Per Herngren (Sweden), Mike Hutchinson (England), Barbara Smedema (Netherlands), Treena Lenthall (Australia), Martin Smedjeback (Sweden), Les Gibbon (England), Lizzie Jones (England), Stephen Hancock (England). The two non-arrested peace planters
are Orla Cunningham (Ireland) and Thomas Helgeson (Sweden).
"On the eve of the 60th anniversary of the bombings of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we come to the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, UK, to plant vines and fig trees," they said.
'They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Instead, everyone shall sit underneath their vine and fig tree and none shall make them afraid.' (Micah 4:3)
Disarmament, economic conversion and nonviolence are vital ingredients for creating a just world in which everyone enjoys the earth's abundance. See: www.figs-and-vines.poijoy.urevised.com