The Glasgow-based political scientist and activist, John Hilley, who writes on global justice issues for Aliran Monthly, was among over 170 peaceful protesters arrested in Faslane, 25 miles from Glasgow, on 1 Oct 2007, at the culmination of a year-long protest against the siting of Trident missiles at a naval base there. He tells me it was an “uplifting experience” and you can see why from the video clip above.
If you look carefully, you can see John wearing a “Free Palestine” T-shirt – for he is also a member of the Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign.
According to the Faslane 365 website:
At Faslane, near Glasgow, Britain currently deploys four Trident nuclear submarines, equipped with US missiles and up to 200 warheads, made at Aldermaston in Berkshire. The warheads could each deliver around 8 times the destructive power of the bombs that obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Although the weapons were procured in 1979 by Margaret Thatcher in a world that is fundamentally different from now, the Labour government has carried on paying some £800 million per year of taxpayers’ money to keep sending Trident out on patrol…
Governments that are so busy spending our money and wasting the world’s resources on building up military capabilities are failing to address the most serious challenges facing the world. Of what conceivable use are nuclear weapons against the real mass destruction that threatens our security and the lives of millions: the oil-and-industry-driven heating of the planet; destruction of our habitat and environment; and the institutionalised poverty that destroys the hopes and lives of thousands each day?
Tai Chi in the lock-up
John wrote to me about his experience:
An inspiring day down there, surrounded by wonderful people. I even had this great political seminar in our police cell with my two fellow peace activists.
The police themselves were very respectful and treated us well – though one had a bemused look when he opened the hatch and found us all doing this tai chi/body balance routine I had showed them.
The other highlight was the Irish protester who brazenly escaped from our police van on arrival at the station. Oh, how we laughed and cheered as he legged it right out the front gate.
I told John he must have had the most serene and angelic expression on his face of anyone I had seen being carted away by the cops.
What all this illustrates to me is that the global justice movement, by definition, cuts across borders – and we need to extend the bonds of solidarity to all those in the movement – whether it is those struggling for democracy in Burma, lawyers demanding real justice in Malaysia, urban settlers facing eviction from their homes, the Palestinians and Iraqis resisting Occupation, etc. We need to draw strength and inspiration from one another in the struggle against the forces of darkness, death and oppression.
Well done, John!