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.

There are many ways to protect the green belt. Evicting Dale Farm Travellers is not one of them.

10 Jul

I was at Dale Farm yesterday for the first in a series of Activity Weekends, arranged by Dale Farm Solidarity to get supporters mobilised and organised in the lead up to the eviction. 

Boys looking for bugs outside of one of the old industrial buildings from the scrapyard.

As I was waiting for meetings to start, I had a chat with Dale Farm resident, John, who was showing off his boxing gloves and looking for bugs with his friends (John, John and Tommy) outside one of the industrial buildings from the old scrapyard. The building remains standing directly next to the small plot he lives on with his parents and sister. Of course, we didn’t talk about the eviction. Breeda, the mother of one of the boys, said “the young kids aren’t able to understand what’s happening and it won’t set in until the bulldozers come in, they are forced onto the road and they can’t go to the school they love anymore.” So we talked about the different kinds of bugs and worms they had managed to catch that day.

John playing outside scrapyard industrial building

For me, the abandoned building they were playing in front of serves as an important reminder that this site was not a green field that was occupied and turned into concrete by the Travellers.  The site was an old car breakers’ yard (at the end of a legal Traveller site), deep in concrete and in a bad condition when residents bought the land and moved onto it.  As soon as you visit Dale Farm and have a look around, it becomes clear that this eviction can’t really be about the preservation of green belt.  (See former AP fellow, James Dasinger’s account of what he deems “The Greenbelt Myth“.)

So, what is this eviction about? And why is the UK Government endorsing this extortionately expensive campaign by Basildon Council, which will make an entire group homeless and will offer no short- or long-term solution for the Travellers or for local settled people. Surely, John and the rest of the Dale Farm residents deserve an answer to these straight-forward questions.

Posted By Susan Craig-Greene

Posted Jul 10th, 2011

Enter your Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *