Susan Craig-Greene

Susan Craig-Greene (Dale Farm Housing Association): Susan is originally from Oklahoma. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in International Relations. Susan then won a Bailey Scholarship to enter the University of Leipzig, where she studied the changing role of women in reunified Germany. She returned to teach in Germany two years later on a Fulbright scholarship and entered the private sector to work at an IT market research consultancy. Susan then returned to university and earned an MA in Human Rights at the University of Essex, where she earned a distinction for her dissertation. After graduating, Susan took a placement with Amnesty International’s International Justice Project. She left Amnesty following the birth of the first of her two children and began studying documentary photography. She lives close to the Dale Farm site.



Last Stand at Dale Farm Begins

19 Sep

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.

Tom Sheridan in his family's caravan on site at Dale Farm. His family was packing up their religious statues ahead of the eviction today. Photograph by Susan Craig-Greene

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.

Shakira Gammell near her yard at Dale Farm. Protestors have painted similar signs on portacabins, fences, caravans all over the site. Photograph by Susan Craig-Greene

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

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