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International - Event Notice
Thursday January 01 1970

greenbelt_06 - four days of talks and workshops

category international | miscellaneous | event notice author Tuesday August 01, 2006 18:45author by Lara Hill Report this post to the editors

greenbelt-06, 25-28 august, cheltenham racecourse.

talks include an interview with released iraqi abductee and peace campaigner, norman kember, reprieve's clive stafford-smith, US political justice activist, jim wallis, spiritual ecologist and activist, alastair mcintosh....

Related Link: http://www.greenbelt.org.uk
author by Greenbelterpublication date Wed Aug 23, 2006 18:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Chris Cole British Aeropsace Ploughshares http://www.plowsharesactions.org/webpages/BAePLOWSHARES.htm

and Ciaron O'Reilly, Pit Stop Ploughshares

........will be some of the folks speaking in the Peace Tent over the weekend. Greenbelt attracted a crowd of 20,000 last year. It has been going since the mid-70's

Related Link: http://www.plowsharesactions.org/webpages/BAePLOWSHARES.htm
author by Ciaronpublication date Wed Aug 30, 2006 22:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well any event that ends with a hug from Michael Franti has got to be good. Last gig of the Greenbelt Festival was Spearhead. They got the crowd jumping and Michael Franti let loose on the war. After the encore he jumped off stage and entered the crowd.....

The guy has a huge heart and is really tall and hugs in a very zen manner.

In such a society that remains generally disengaged from a war that escalates and expends in the Middle East and has already come home to London, Madrid, NYC and western tourists from Bali to Egypt - it is good to know that the handful like Spearhead www.spearheadvibrations.com and David Rovics www.davidrovics.com are out there most nights singing and stomping about it. I got a copy of "I Know I'm Not Alone" about Michael Franti's sojourn to Iraq where he plays music to Iraq folks on the streets and to U.S. soldiers. www.iknowimnotalone.com So will show this one Sunday night at the DCW is anyone's in interested.

20,000 folks turned up to this 3 day Greenbelt Festival at the Cheltenham racecourse, spitting distance from British Intelligence HQ....site of Katherine Gunn's heroic resistance to the lies that marketed this war.

I traveled via Bristol to the festival to hook up with the trial support of the five disarmament activists facing three seperate trials for three different disarmament and attempted disarmament actions on U.S. B52 Bombers at the U.S. Fairford base in England.

Phil and Toby from the B52 Two had attended our original Pit Stop Ploughshares trial in Dublin, March '05. While in Bristol, I got to join a daily anti-war vigil that has been running since the invasion of Iraq.

I first went to Greenbelt in '97 at its old Northampton venue, I had been invited to speak on East Timor and nonviolent resistance to the arms trade to the Indonesian dictatorship. It was the first place I ever met protestants from the north of Ireland, so that was worth the trip in itself. Greenbelt came out of the evangelical scene in the '70's. It was where U2 would go and gig before they got famous. The vibe is largely post-evangelical and very inclusive and a safe place for kidz. At the first festival I went to there was no alcohol and I felt like I was in an altered state walking around a music festival in a state of sobriety.

After '97, the festival was moved to Cheltenham Racecourse and there was bar...yahoo! I remember seeing the Canadian Bruce Cockburn (who had the early MTV hit of the nonpacifist version of that old chestnut If I had a Hammer.... "If I had a Rocket Launcher!" coming out of his experiences in Guatamala). Also the Asian Dub Foundation played, you obviously didn't have to be a Christian to get invited! Although Samantha Fox gigged there in her brief born again period and Billy Bragg played there recently. They also manage to get some top theologians along to give talk, last year it was eniogram man Franciscan Richrad Rohr, and before that CW/Plowshares favourite Ched Myers and also "Engaging the Powers" Walter Wink and Sojourner Jim Wallis.

Last year, I was an invited speaker talking on the neverending forthcoming trial of the Pit Stop Ploughshares in Ireland and spent most of my time schmoozing around the organic beer bar with folks from the L'Arche communities who are the least self conscious, most unhibited up for a party people you could hope to meet.

This year it was mostly schmoozing and networking. I did get to hear some great voices against the war. Norman Kember, who I last saw on Sky in an orange jumpsuit being held hostage by the "Swords of Righteousness" group in Iraq. I never thought I'd ever see Norman again, so it was great to listen to this humble courageous man and celebrate his 70+ birthday. Also Shane Clairborne, the radical Tennessee hillbilly hippy (hey we all come from somewhere!) who was under the bombs of Shock and Awe in Baghdad speak on "Big Beast and Little Prophets", "Holy Mischief" etc Good guy and was able to update me on a lot of U.S. CW & resister friends.

Also caught Alister McIntosh who grew up on the Gaelic speaking Scottish Island of Lewis and authored the brilliant book "Soil and Soul - People Versus Corporate Power" (would be a good one for the Rossport campaign - described by Bishop James Jones as "life changing" by the Guardian's George Monbiot as "world changing" and Thom Yorke of Radiohead as "truly mental"). And also the celebrated Gay Catholic theologian James Allison (author of "Faith Beyond Resentment-Fragments Catholic and Gay") who conduct a two hour session on "Who sacrifices whom to whom? - Undergoing Atonement". Also went to a discussion on the North with a DUP councillor, a Sinn Fein member of the nonsitting assembley, a woman form Corrymeela and a womderul guy into bereavement and reconciliation who had lost his wife to a bombing in the Shankhill.

So I wasn't too organised on the workshop/concert front, probably should have read the program before the event rather than after. But it was great to meet up with old friends....Chris Cole who used the same hammer as the Pit Stops on British Aerospace equipment back in the early '90's
amongst others and make some new friends. I was able to do a little recruiting for the nonviolent "Shut Down Shannon if the Irish Government Doesn't Demilitarise Real Soon" action. I also got along to all the L'Arche liturgies which were great.

On the way home I got to drop in at the Nipponzon Myohoji Buddhist temple in Milton Keynes where I had lived years ago and first met fellow Pit Stopper Karen Fallon. She had just left for Scotland and is doing fine, by all reports. Great to see the monks Handa and Marta who I had first met on their London to belfast peace walk in '96 and who vigilled outside the three Pit Stop Ploughshares trials in Dublin. then it was off to Luton Airport to surrender my deodorant to airport security.

Related Link: http://www.peaceontrial.com
author by Lara Hillpublication date Wed Sep 20, 2006 21:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great to see a report about Greenbelt on Indymedia. I haven't been on the internet much since the festival so only checking out this article a month later. I like the idea of seeing Michael Franti's video at DCW, but don't know if that's already happened. Maybe you can put it up as an event on Indymedia if it's still in the pipeline. Michael Franti and Spearhead were definitely one of the highlights this year.

I know what you mean about reading the programme after the festival is over, but one encouraging thing I read was that the best parts of Greenbelt are the unplanned moments you happen upon as you walk from one talk to another, but get distracted by something on the way!

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