Flushed from their victory over the Brent Spar oil rig. Greenpeace activists now face an old foe — the French government — as the Rainbow Warrior sets sail to challenge the planned resumption of nuclear testing.
The question is, how far will they go in terms of risking life and limb in pursuit of their goals? The last time Greenpeace tangled with the French government agents was ten years ago. when the original Rainbow Warrior sank in a New Zealand harbour and one activist was killed.
To prevent the Brent Spar being scuttled in the deep waters of the Atlantic as Shell intended, Greenpeace members again put themselves at considerable risk to board the rusting oil platform under a barrage of high pressure water jets. ‘The pe0ple who put themselves at risk are all volunteers. They are all trained and know what they are going in to.‘ says Greenpeace spokesman Robert Morris.
Forcing oil giant Shell into an embarrassing climbdown — both for the company itselfand British Government
' which publicly backed the dumping
; plan - is probably Greenpeace‘s most 3 signiﬁcant victory yet. The
) environmental group was the
; undisputed winner ofthe propaganda battle, even ifthe technical arguments * on the best way ofdisposing of the
i storage platform were less clear cut.
‘The direct action was the key part.' says Morris. ‘We could have just sat and wrung our hands. but direct action makes people see that you are serious.‘ Also. according to Mon‘is. the media played a major role in relaying Greenpeace‘s uncompromising approach.
Greenpeace trumps Shell in high-stakes propaganda game
A team of four Greenpeace media managers provided round-the-clock information and pictures. ‘lt wasn‘t much compared with Shell's resources, but we always make sure everything wr do is filmed and photographed.‘
When a fax was received at Greenpeace's London headquarters announcing Shell‘s about turn. there was little time to celebrate. ‘The phones went absolutely mad and we had three hours of non-stop calls,’ says Morris. Shell's ofﬁcial line was that the rethink was not the result of public pressure. sparked off by the Greenpeace campaign. but Morris is sceptical. ‘That is just sour grapes.' he says. ‘They were being boycotted as well, but if we hadn‘t done anything they would have quietly towed it away.‘
Now energies are being redirected towards the French nuclear testing campaign. which Greenpeace admits will be a longer battle that is unlikely to result in such a clear cut victory. ‘We'll
carry on as long as it takes.‘ says
Morris bullishly. (Stephen Naysmith)
Girls 0 pe in ﬁght for art
Scotland’s art world is about to get egg-coloured paint on its face as gorilla warfare hits the streets of Glasgow.
The avengers are The Guerrilla Girls, a group at New York artists who tor ten years have kicked the American public in the creative eye with an innovative and sharp-witted poster campaign.
Some oi the art world’s most respected galleries have been accused by The Guerrilla Girls at tailing women artists. One poster aimed at New York’s Metropolitan Museum oi Art teatured a picture of lngres’ iamous nude Udalisque and the slogan: ‘llo women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum?’
‘The art market is about money and not taking huge risks,’ says Frida Kahlo, who has adopted the Guerilla tactic ot naming herselt alter a dead temale artist to conceal her identity. ‘Decisions about what’s quality are based on people’s values. We have people who only ever see white, male art - they’re going to think that’s the universal value. We’re saying that’s not true.’ Kahlo insists the group poses no threat to male artists: ‘We’re not trying to get rid at them, we’re just saying: “Boll over”.’(l(athleen Morgan)
The Guerrilla Girls give a talk at the CCA, Glasgow on Thursday 13 July at 7pm. Confessions of The Guerrilla Girls ls published by Pandora at £9.99.
‘I tried to look tor my house, but
' , ; everything in the area was totally
i destroyed and there was no clue. I
5 wondered what had become of my
.é mother, and waited and waited,
? expecting my sister and brother would surely come and find me. I remember the helplessness I felt as a little child, as it it were yesterday.’
This is the testimony of Sakue Shimohira, one of the hibakusha (Japanese atomic-bomb survivors) who are visiting the UK to mark the 50th anniversary at the bombing at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Shimohira was a schoolgirl when the second A-bomb tell on her home town at Nagasaki. Her mother and one of her sisters died in the initial blast, while another sister committed suicide ten years later. Shimohira herseli has had a series of operations to remove damaged internal organs as a result of exposure to radiation. ‘For these years since then, we hibakusha have lived through the suttering which
3 GND brings blast victims to ' UK for A-bomb anniversary
i is beyond description, including diseases and poverty,’ she says.
I The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is bringing a group of hibakusha to Britain to highlight the reality of nuclear weapons. ‘This is primarily to remind people of the evil of nuclear weapons,’ says CND development worker John Brierley, who is organising the speaking tour. ‘These people have really harrowing tales to tell of the experiences immediately alter the bomb was dropped. We want to make it less abstract and bring it down to an individual level.’
The three hibakusha who are visiting Britain represent the Japanese anti- nuclear organisation Nihon Hidankyo, which has been nominated tor a Nobel Peace Prize this year. The organisation argues that the United States should admit that its use at nuclear weapons at the end at World War II was a mistake and compensate
the Japanese blast victims. CND has
i i I 1’;
Two Nagasaki survivors, from ‘Photographing the Bomb’, by Yosuke Yamahata
called on the British Government to apologise for its complicity in the decision to drop the A-bombs. (Eddie Gibb)
Meet the hibakusha on Tuesday 4 July in Edinburgh at the Regional Chambers, Parliament Square at noon; and Glasgow at the City Chambers, George Square at 7pm. Call Scottish CND on 0141 423 1222 for further details.
Moscow State Circus's current tour of Scotland may be its last due to a shortage of arts funding in the former Soviet Union. According to Chris Barltrop. general manager and ringmaster for the British tour, Russia’s economic crisis may have disastrous knock-on effects for the ever-popular troupe.
‘The communists gave the circus full facilities and funding,’ explains Barltrop. ‘The training was the best in the world. But under capitalism there is not enough money to pay teachers a decent wage. They tell me that about a third of circus buildings in Russia will close within three years.’
Under communist rule. ‘cultural activities‘ accounted for about a third of all public spending; now that figure is down to seven per cent. With galloping inﬂation, the price ofa ticket has risen front three to 15,000 roubles (around £2) — a substantial hike in real terms despite devaluation. Understandably, audiences are falling away.
Disenchanted performers — who once enjoyed job security, a fixed income and the promise of a state pension — are now seeking work abroad, and with the lifting ofemigration restrictions, they are free to go. One former State Circus stalwart is now plying a profitable trade
Russian circus may be whipped in cash crisis
as ajuggler in Las Vegas — with no plans to return.
‘They still view it as freedom. but the individual performer's gain has been everybody else’s loss,‘ says Barltrop. ‘For now, we can still select the ﬁnest Russian-trained performers, but soon the facilities won't be there to assemble the company; there won't be the training, and there may not even be the artists, because they'll be off working somewhere else.‘ (Andrew Bumet)
The Moscow State Circus performs in Edinburgh on 5—9 July; Stirling [1—16 July. and Glasgow [—6 August. See Theatre listings for details.
4 The List 30 Jun-l3 Jul 1995