Arms not Arms in this Neighbourhood

It disturbed my father that the Royal Navy maintained its nuclear fleet in Scotland and not in London, on the Thames. And so when the French insisted on destroying a tropical island in the south Pacific Ocean he was equally as disturbed.  A recent work colleague recalls being present at the Greenham Common Peace Camp, where young women from around the world gathered to express their peacenik concerns.

Soon after moving to Auckland and the birthing of Splice, I met two young artists who had crafted a Celtic/Pacifica version of the peace symbol that appeared as a sign of dispeace in the west against the proliferation of nuclear weaponry and nuclear power as was happening.

I was a teenager when I first carved my first peace symbol on a gate post.  The basis of the symbol are the two semaphore signals, ‘n’ and ‘d’. Nuclear Disarmament was the cry of those generations post World War II in particular.

As I started wondering the streets of Auckland, many suggested that I need to find some way that people could identify me. The immediate suggestion was a ‘cross’, but then I wasn’t pronouncing one religious persuasion over any other. Or perhaps a uniform, but that symbolises a regimentation that was not symbolic of diversity or community and yes, a bright red hat might work, but then the symbol that my, and subsequent generations considered ‘life saving’, seem very appropriate to my task of leading a values based movement for community connection.  

And now I am disturbed that there are younger generations of Splice movement people who have no idea of the journey that was New Zealand’s, in becoming a symbol of nuclear free possibilities in the face of world powers.  I have met many young people in recent weeks who haven’t considered the abhorrence I feel in the arms sales conference about to be held on Auckland’s water front.  This is a political coupe, an insidious slipping under the radar by our leaders who want our nuclear free status to become a fiction.

Over the next weeks Splice hopes that we take the opportunity to understand the ‘in your face’ action of local and international leaders in politics and business, in securing this event on Auckland’s harbour edge, 1 km away from the sight of the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior when she was about to sail for peace.  

John MacDonald.