By Dr Vandana Shiva – L’Huffington Post, 29 July 2015

Christos Tsoumplekas / Flickr

Photo: Christos Tsoumplekas / Flickr

Sources [Italian]:

I am in Nigeria to visit Ogoniland which has been devastated by Shell on the 20th anniversary of the execution of Nigeria’s leading environmentalist Ken Saro Wiwa .

The ruination of the fertile Niger Delta by the greed and irresponsibility of the oil industry has such strong parallels to the ruination of Greece by the greed and irresponsibility of banks and financial institutions.

Ken was protecting his homeland and the life of his people yet he was punished, and his life extinguished, while the polluters and Shell, which was committing crimes against nature and people, roam free. Shell is now expanding to the Arctic to drill for oil as the ice melts due to Climate Change, to which the corporation has contributed significantly.

The citizens of Greece voted a clear No in the recent referendrum on austerity, yet they are being punished with further austerity measures while the banks which gave bad loans are bailed out by the public financial institutions.

This so called bailout of Greece is but the perpetuation of a dysfunctional economic model which should end as Pope Francis has said so clearly in his encyclical.

During the crisis, it is the small farms of Greece which gave work to unemployed youth. It is the gardens in balconies and terraces that allowed people in Athens to eat while the banks closed and pensions dried up. And our partner Peliti in the Global Alliance for Seed Freedom has increasing demands for Seeds as people must turn to growing their own food to survive this financial war against Greece, just as victory gardens allowed the US and European citizens to survive during the 2nd World War.

Yet it is the farms that the European banks want to destroy. An article in the Financial times of 22nd July mentions that increasing taxes on farmers is one element of the new package of austerity measures. As wheat grower Panos Karambelas from the Larissa region said, “There are very few producers in our region who have the funds to pay what amounts to a quadruple tax bill compared to last year.”

This is beyond austerity, it is genocide.

It is beyond economics, it is the psychology of fear of everything alive and free, and rising from that fear, an urge to exterminate that freedom and life. The assault on the small farmers of Greece, the pushing of 300,000 Indian farmers to suicide, are symptoms of this war against life based on fear.

Our answer must be a passionate love for life and freedom. That is why we must defend or seed freedom and save seeds, we must defend our food freedom and grow our own food. In 2014 , the European Commission was forced to roll back its Seed Laws that would have locked Greece into seed slavery. The new recipe on taxes on farmers is an attempt to lock Greece into food and financial slavery.

Europe must be forced to roll back this demand. And as we have written in our Manifesto Terra Viva, it is time to create a new economy and new democracy with life and people’s freedom at the centre of the human enterprise instead of destruction of life, corporate greed, and governments undermining democracy.

This post is also available in: Italian