PETRA KELLY was the leading Green activist in the world, writes Sara Parkin. In addition to her political life in Europe she did an enormous amount of work distributing information from her office in the Bundestag to people in less privileged positions. If someone in a Third World country wanted information on environmental standards she would send it to them. She travelled widely as a speaker and was a revered figure in countries all over the world.
Petra was a brave, charismatic figure. She had an inspirational way of speaking that made people want to get up and join her and get on with it. She could take on politicians in parliament; her university education in Washington meant she could see Germany from inside and out, giving her a double perspective on her country.
If she became distanced from her party in recent years it was because her idea of what an anti-party party should be differed from that of some of her colleagues, some of whom wanted no organisation at all. She wanted to translate the principles of non-violence and conciliation into a political programme using established political structures to get Green ideas over, and she became frustrated by what she saw as her colleagues' lack of seriousness.
Petra Kelly was generous with friendship, and through the years I found her a tremendous support in good times and bad. There were four of us - the other two are Solange Ferenx and Freda Meisner Blau - women of similar age involved in Green politics, who provided each other with a tremendous support mechanism in busy and difficult times.