The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

Peace Camp in Comiso, Sicily

“One minute, the police were joking with the women protestors. The next minute, the scene turned ugly, and women were being rough-handled by the police. I was standing near a woman whose arm was broken as it was twisted by a policeman. I heard the snapping of the bone. And I still hear it. ... This was actually my first experience with unprovoked official violence. ... I was angry, but powerless.”
-Sissy Farenthold, in her speech "Women's Search for Peace"


A page from a 1981 pamphlet by the Women of Sicily for Nuclear Disarmament, Catania Committee, a Sicilian protest group.

In 1981, the Italian government gave permission to NATO to build a missile base in Comiso, Sicily. Peace groups protested its development in the early 1980s, and feminist activists, who were inspired by the women at Greenham Common, formed a camp in Comiso (Wittner, 2003).

Farenthold visited Comiso in 1982 and 1983. In 1982, she spoke with activists and learned more about plans for the base. During her 1983 trip, she participated in protests, including one scheduled in tandem with the annual International Women’s Day march. During one of the protests, she witnessed a violent incident in which Italian police attacked some of the women protesters.

These featured documents are from Farenthold's 1983 visit to Comiso and Greenham Common, as well as documentation in which Farenthold reported on the violence she witnessed:

"Against Nuclearisation and Beyond," Pamphlet, October 1981
"Women All Out for Peace," Statement from Greenham Common, c. March 1983
Statement on Violence at Comiso Letter, March 1983
Sissy Farenthold's Statement on Violence at Comiso, c. March 1983
Letter to Ambassador Rabb on Violence in Comiso, March 1983
"Visits to Comiso," Report, c. July 1983
"Sky's Got the Blues," Song Lyrics, date unknown

More information on these documents

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Farenthold gives an oral history of her trips to Comiso in a July 2011 interview with the Rapoport Center:

View the transcript.