Monday, 9 June 2008

Bomb makers and another dead cyclist

That UK factories are busy making components of bombs and other weapons that have been used in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan and possibly Somalia to unlawfully kill and maim civilians, including children, should be an absolute scandal.

That cyclists and pedestrians so regularly die under the wheels of cars should too.

But that these two coincided when a 19-year-old girl was killed as she cycled from London to Brighton this week to attend the 'Carnival Against The Arms Trade' demo outside the Brighton base of EDO-MDM, an arms manufacturer responsible for bomb release mechanisms, should be a matter of national shame.

19-year-old Marie Vesco, a committed anti-war activist with the Whitechapel Food Not Bombs and the Brixton Reclaim Your Food groups, was demonstrating her commitment to tackling climate change by cycling from London for the protest, alongside 11 others, when she was pronounced dead a the scene of a car crash on the A23.

A close friend described her as “a very warm and generous person who was always laughing and always made people laugh."

To paraphrase one of the peace activists, the fact that she was killed on the roads, whilst cycling lawfully and safely, speaks volumes about the priorities of the British government. Whilst arms dealers are subsidised to the tune of billions of pounds, the relatively small amount of money that it would take to provide safe cycle lanes for bikes just isn't made available.

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