Peace campaigners meet Martin Sheen

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A ST ANDREWS peace campaigner met Hollywood legend and fellow activist Martin Sheen recently at an anti-nuclear weapons conference in Norway.

Judith McDonald and her friend Jill Saunderson met the West Wing star earlier this month at the three-day event which explored the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.

Around 1000 turned up at a specially arranged event to hear the Emmy Award winning actor talk about balancing his political activism with his Hollywood career.

Afterwards Sheen mingled with members of the audience and was happy to have his picture taken.

The actor, considered one of the best never to be nominated for an Academy Award despite his acclaimed performances, has admitted to being arrested more than 60 times for protesting and acts of civil disobedience.

He once told The Progressive magazine: “I’m active in social justice and peace issues because I can’t seem to live with myself if I do not – I don’t know any other way to be.

“It isn’t something you can explain; it is just something that you do; it is something that you are.

“Civil disobedience is one of the only tools that is available to us where you can express a deeply personal, deeply moral opinion and be held accountable.

“You have to be prepared for the consequences.

“I honestly do not know if civil disobedience has any effect on the government. I can promise you it has a great effect on the person who chooses to do it.”

Looking back at the conference, Judith said: “It was a great experience.

“Having someone like Martin Sheen at an event adds a real bit of glamour but I was really heartened to see so many young people there.

“I have been involved in anti-nuclear campaigning for many years now and it is so heartening to see a new generation get involved and carry on the work that has gone on before.

“And of course they bring all their knowledge of social media and all the new ways to get information out and spread the message about the dangers of nuclear weapons.”

The conference focused on facts-based discussions of the humanitarian and developmental consequences of a nuclear weapon being detonated with the focus on what would happen on the ground.

Presentations by international experts also explored what plans and capacity would be required to respond to such a disaster.