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Margaret Jones

Peace camp at Brize Norton - with the emphasis on PEACE! - and efforts at dialogue with the fed-up soldiery - Thur 21st April - Mon 25th April. For those who've just heard about it, this is where the British troops are flown to Basra from. Maps and directions will follow in a week or


"He thought they shouldn't be there, they should all just be back here because it's a war which nobody knows why it was started or what it was done for.... We are all absolutely devastated." Craig Lowe, a young soldier said this, of his older brother Paul, killed last year while with the Black Watch in Iraq.

Such thoughts, coming from soldiers' families - and even from soldiers themselves - made some of us here in Bristol think that we and they might have things to talk about - even, possibly, aims in common. With this in mind, a group of us have decided to visit one of the main air force bases for flying British troops to Iraq, and to set up a temporary peace camp there.

Brize Norton in Oxfordshire is the largest Royal Air Force base in Britain. UK troops are flown from there direct to Basra. And this is where the coffins come back to. We would like a few campers to go to Brize in April for four to five days - for two reasons:


1) To reach out to the military personnel, and to people in the nearby town of Carterton. We don't want to accuse and condemn - rather to try and enter into some kind of dialogue with anyone willing to talk with us. At Brize, we will mainly be dealing with RAF personnel - 60 per cent of whom are said to have been opposed to the 2003 assault on Iraq, in the first place. But we may also get the chance to talk directly with soldiers bound for Basra. One member of our group has proposed a newsletter, making the points about the non-existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction, the anger among soldiers' families, and the terrible destruction and death caused to innocent Iraqis. We would want to discuss our opposition to Blair's collusion with the present régime in the United States, and how British troops have been drawn into doing its dirty work.

2) To focus a spotlight, so to speak, on where the planes take off from, carrying soldiers to take part in the ongoing occupation of Iraq. We intend to invite the media, to hold a peace march past the base, and to organise a few non-violent "stunts" - large effigy of Tony Blair, etc. Whatever people can come up with that is peaceful, non-confrontational and creative. We need a group of really sorted people for this one - and to discourage anyone from coming who just might not be able to handle their drink. So please, no alcohol or other drugs (legal or otherwise), on site. And no dogs. Nothing to be carried near the fences or around the military that could be interpreted as a weapon. (Experience has shown that this is far the best way to keep it a well-organised place, full of dependable people.


So far, we've had offers of support from Somerset, Swindon, East Anglia, London, and from Oxfordshire itself. If you think this as worthwhile a project as we do - please get in touch.

We're going to need: camping gear of all sorts, help with transport, help with getting the word out, creative non-violent ideas for stunts and outreach - artists, publicity people, banners, musicians ....... We could use help with collecting the camping gear, with leafleting and
banner making, and with transport - both before and during the camp. Also with construction of a giant statue of Tony Blair!

E-mail Margaret Jones:

Please remember, this will be a "no drugs, no alcohol, no dogs - and of course no weapons" - camp. (This is the best way we know of keeping things safe and peaceful for everyone, and of deterring those who think protest camps are the equivalent of a drunken weekend in Amsterdam!)

January 2005


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