Dining out on death and destruction

June 27, 2013

Guest blog post from the lovely Wendy Horler, involved with the Stop The Arms Fair coalition

The arms trade likes to be considered as a respectable and respected industry. But in its quest for a noble image, it tends to go over the top. A recent promotional dinner was held at the Imperial War Museum.

Anti arms trade protesters outside the Imperial War Museum

Some of us went along to demonstrate our disgust. I was so angry at the choice of venue that I volunteered to try and invade the proceedings, so that I could say a few carefully chosen words. I’m of a certain age and use a rather flash black and silver walking stick. It makes a very good disguise, especially if I dress up a bit.

I walked into the event expecting to be asked for my £300 ticket. No, just courteous greetings, a programme, and would I like to use the lift? Panic nearly set in- but resolve was hardened as I watched all these well-heeled people sauntering past the terrible images of the devastation of war without a glance. “Bastards” – I thought. I was so angry I even refused a glass of champagne I’ve never done that before – or since!

I asked the quintet who were playing if they would pause whilst I made a few house-keeping announcements. Then I said my bit.  People paused briefly, looked embarrassed or amused and continued talking quietly. So I asked if they’d all heard me – no response “OK” I said “I’ll say it all again.” And I did. Then I walked out.

No response from anyone, no-one even looked at me now. I found myself wondering if I was really there.  Then as I walked through the tables to the door someone rushed up and grabbed my programme with the guest list “You’re not getting away with that as well.” she said angrily

“Yes!!” I thought “They did hear me”.

It could be regarded as high jinks and righteous indignation – but the cumulative effect of such “goings on” is the exposure of the hypocrisy that envelops this hideous trade.

TAKING ACTION

Arms dealers are starting to realise they’re not welcome in public spaces.

BAE Systems has run scared from careers fairs at Edinburgh University after constant student protest. Pressure is starting to build against the London Transport Museum taking money from arms company Thales.

With your help, we could stop the arms trade in its tracks.

Read some other accounts of interrupting arms dealers dinners on the CAAT blog.

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