Green and Pleasant Land? It was before the Olympics!

Below is a letter from a local resident published in the Guardian (14 June 2012) in response to Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony for the Olympics, which will be based upon the notion of our ‘green and pleasant land’. The green and pleasant spaces of East London have been confiscated, contaminated and destroyed in the name of the Olympics…

Boyle gets down to grass roots

The surreal vista of a “green and pleasant land” planned by Danny Boyle for the Olympic Opening Ceremony (The real Britain – Boyle gets down to grass roots for opening ceremony 13 June), is destined not to go down very well with many people battling to keep the East End of London green against the onslaught of London 2012 diggers.

Areas including Hackney Marshes, Wanstead Flats and Leyton Marshes – “London’s countryside” are being destroyed.  Leyton Marshes dug up for a temporary Basketball Training Facility – revealing toxic waste of post-WW2 bomb clearance and left in uncovered piles, until local people campaigned to get it removed – is just one example of how our open spaces are being sacrificed for the bombast of what ever we are “allowed” to call it.

A green and pleasant land for whom?  Only too real, are people’s rights to frolick around maypoles severely being curtailed by barring  access and criminalising and “pre-criminalising” people who dare to say that this isn’t right – “puzzle” on that Oh, Danny Boyle.

Celia Coram

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