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Peace News log archive: July 2014

Articles from the Peace News log.
For archive articles from the whole site, look here

Thirty years on, the anti-nuclear war drama Threads has lost none of its power to shock. Its message of making connections has inspired many, including one of its producers, Richard Levitt.

Ruth and Jimmy kiss in their car on the Moors. A fighter jet roars ominously overhead. Potential violence erupts into the everyday. Some of the images in Threads - a mushroom cloud rising over Sheffield, a middle-aged woman urinating in fear - are etched forever into my mind’s eye. Watching the film again, the same cold fear washes through my guts at the thought that such destruction is still within the reach of several world leaders. Threads is chilling because of its salty social realism, thorough grounding in a wide range of contemporary research, and its unblinking exposure of the disasters nuclear war brings.

The story unfolds against the backdrop of everyday life. Nuclear states rattle, then unsheathe their sabres over border conflicts. Conventional munitions give way to small nuclear devices, like dominoes knocking against one another. Sheffield becomes a microcosm for the whole of Britain, the rest of the world. Panic looting and mass hysteria follow the first mushroom cloud, before the city takes a direct hit. Jimmy, searching for Ruth, disappears in a blinding white flashpoint. Milk bottles on a doorstep melt like water. Buildings are smashed and burning. A husband dabs at the ravaged face of his wife. Infrastructure has been obliterated.

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Four years after the successful conclusion of the Montgomery Bus Boycott - and two-and-a-bit months before the first Freedom Ride - legendary activist and journalist William Worthy reported for Peace News on the treatment meted out to African-American interstate travellers who failed to comply with segregation.

This article first appeared in the 24 February 1961 issue of Peace News.

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