Women say NO to Star Wars
27 August 2001
As part of the international celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the birth of the Greenham Common women's peace camp, Greenham women here in Aotearoa decided to recognise the day with Women say NO to Star Wars. Below are reports from Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch; a report from one of the Women say NO to Star wars protests in the US; and the Women say NO to Star Wars song.
Women say NO to Star Wars song (to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic)
Our eyes have seen the glory of the coming of George II / he plans to fight wars in space right above you / with laser guns and killer satellites, and weapons that are new / star wars goes rolling on.
(chorus) Glory glory they want war in space / US business needs another weapons race / they've militarised the earth and now they need a new place / so star wars goes rolling on.
Their eyes have seen the glory of the profits they could make / with McDonalds out on Mars, for star wars troopers burger breaks / why stop at planet earth when there's a universe to rape? / so star wars goes rolling on.
* Wellington / Whanganui a Tara - photos
Around 40 women gathered outside the US embassy to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the birth of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp and to say NO to Star Wars. Women old and young came together to honour the Greenham women, and all the women who have worked and died for a better world. We gathered around a ‘fire’ (fake flames, we weren’t sure how the security guards would respond to a real one!) with the huge white peace bird watching over us all, ‘Greenham women everywhere’, Women say NO to Star Wars’ and ‘Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific’ banners.
We heard the messages from other women around the world gathered to mark this day, then walked around the embassy compound, blowing whistles, banging tins and singing the ‘women say NO to star wars’ song to ensure the US diplomatic representatives were awake to hear our message. Then we went to work on the fence, singing and weaving woollen webs, tying up peace doves and women’s symbols with messages, and a young woman whose mother had taken her to Greenham as a toddler tied a photo of herself at Greenham to the fence too. We wound lots of wool around the main gate which caused the security guards considerable concern - after consulting with each other, the bravest came and said “you can’t do that, we won’t be able to open the gate” to which we replied - “that’s exactly why we’re doing it”. They seemed to be missing the point somewhat.
As it grew dark we lit our candles, and together with the peace bird, turned our backs on the embassy and the violence that the US government and big business represents. We stood in the night as women spoke of their opposition to the insanity of the weapons race, the amount of money and resources which are poured into military spending overseas and here while children die for lack of food and health care; the theft of common land; the plans to put weapons in space; the impact of Star Wars on the people of Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific; and the heritage of our foremothers who have opposed militarism and war for centuries and who guide us into the future from the past. We finished by singing an amended version of ‘Shut down Greenham’ through the gates:
“we don’t want your laws, we don’t like your cause, and we won’t fight your wars, US business. We don’t want free trade, nor military aid, nor the greed and hate, of US interests.”
One woman was told she will be summonsed to pay the costs of ‘wilful damage to US government property’ - namely, drawing two women’s peace signs on an illuminated sign at the gates. Unfortunately, the signs did not beam a peaceful message out into the world as intended when the sign was lit up for the hastily summonsed police to see the extent of this heinous crime ...
* Auckland / Tamaki Makaurau
About 20 women gathered outside the US Consulate in Auckland on 27August 2001, the 20th anniversary of the Women for Life on Earth walk from Cardiff in Wales to Greenham Common in England to protest against the decision to deploy US nuclear cruise missiles in Europe.
We held a banner 'WOMEN SAY NO TO STAR WARS' and also the WILPF banner and when it started to get dark we lit our candles with our backs to the consulate. We sang songs, and those women present who had been at Greenham told us something about that experience. They also talked about the reasons for continuing to protest about US militarism and missile defence system testing especially in the Pacific and the effect on the peoples of the Pacific. The connection was also made between the colonisation and taking of the common land of indigenous peoples here and in the Pacific and the taking of the common land in England for military purposes.
Some people stopped and spoke to us and wanted to know what were doing. Interestingly they were mainly tourists.
* Ötautahi / Christchurch
Women Say No to Star Wars Celebrating Greenham Common: seven women gathered on a cold Christchurch night, down a side street outside the vacated US Antarctic Programme hanger. Black ribbons were tied to the barbed wire fence, in remembrance of the women and children who have died due to the global military machine. Wool was symbolically woven to keep the gate shut. Poems and stories were read and messages tied to the wire. As the light left our backs turned on the US flag and candles were lit. Small but creative, we were reminded of what community and action mean.
It was great, thank you everyone. We joined with women through out the country and around the world in this action against the militarisation and commercialisation of space.
* Oakland, California, USA.
Bay Area activists from a variety of the many peace organisations here - all women except for one male colleague - gathered at noon in front of the federal building in downtown Oakland to celebrate the 20th Greenham anniversary by protesting "Star Wars." Passing out handbills, singing songs and speaking to the passersby through a bullhorn, we had a fairly receptive audience (for the US, that is). There were no arrests, nor did the police or security bother us in any way. We look forward to organising another all-women event.