Today is the day the bailiffs come into Dale Farm. The Travellers’ home is now unrecognisable. Although many residents remain on site, fearing a violent clash between bailiffs and protestors, they have been forced to move the children, elderly, and ill away from danger. There are makeshift barricades throughout the site, slogans (“Lady with Difficulty Breathing Lives Here”, “Save Our Homes”, “Where Will We Go”, “Cancer Patient, Let Me Be”…) painted on fences, portacabins and trailers, and activists lying on mattresses and locked onto cars and gates and blocking the entrance. We are now barricaded inside the site; the protestors are allowing no movement on or off.
Amongst this chaos, the real story here is sadly being lost. This is about the people; the Travellers; the community. They are now face-to-face with the reality that they live in a country that does not recognise that their culture is worth preserving. Their whole way of life is under threat. The only option Basildon Council has ever given them is to split up their families and to conform to a settled way of life and live in bricks and mortar. If this option is unimaginable, the residents are forced into a precarious situation on the road with no real home and no access to basic services. This reality resonated with me as the school bus came this morning as always and four brave children made their way past the scores of media and field of bailiffs to clamber on and head to school for a few hours of normality.
We have now come to the point we hoped we would never reach. We are standing behind barricades, waiting for the bailiffs to make their move.
Breda asked Marie as we were waiting around this morning, “Are you all right, Marie? Are you ready for them?” Marie answered, “We have no choice now.”
Posted By Susan Craig-Greene
Posted Sep 19th, 2011