“War Starts Here”: Scottish activists target Selex

Campaign Against Arms Trade has been campaigning against Selex’s sponsorship of the Edinburgh Science Festival, and in April I took part in an awareness raising walk through the town, leafleting and singing. More recently a small group of us decided to try to get people thinking about how that company profits as part of the war machine.

Selex banner

Selex is providing perimeter security surveillance for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and at the same time is making drones and weapons’ targeting systems. For years I cycled to work at the local hospital, past the Selex site, horrified by the glorification of war in the form of the Fighter Jets sculpture at Crewe Toll. I wanted to scream out, “These are not to be celebrated”.

We decided take action to expose Selex by safely draping large banners from the bridges across two of the major approach roads, stating “Selex ES War Starts Here”. We also prepared ‘seed bombs’ of poppy, cabbage and bird seed in damp soil and rolled these into balls of black and bright red crepe. When these were lobbed at the fighter jet sculptures they scattered seeds across the grass and trailed red ribbons. In a week when the death toll in Gaza was rising dramatically, the bloodstain symbolism could be clearly understood.

Our adhoc action was only a small part of an ongoing campaign. It is time for arms exports to cease. It is time to use our creativity to prevent wars rather than making cleverer weapons. I am part of a choir that sings with all our hearts: “The world can never live in peace, while the war machine rolls on”.

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