Is there a more obvious example of the multi-decade neutralization of the human and ecological integrity, than the absence of echelons of forest experts from all over the country from the celebration of the great jubilee of the Faculty of Forestry? Another example of auto-censorship of the conscience in front of the courage and expert attitude of the dean Ratko Ristić. Truncated meeting on one side and huge activism of the dean with the part of academic community and awakened professional conscience. Fear or stating and recognizing the truth or succumbing to the psychology of fear to stand against the superior and unknown opponent.

Is there a more absurd situation in the ecological standing against the problems, than the one where, in front of the Ministry of the Environmental Protection and the bunch of "green" satellite members of parliament, grandmas and grandpas chain themselves for the bridges and trees, defending things which should never be defended by definition. Rivers, forests, air and their disappearance or quality degradation, are saved and solved today, in 20th century Serbia, by the people who do it from passion, and not because they're paid to do so.

josanica suva 2 Zvanična stranica pokreta Odbranimo reke Stare planine i udruženja Nova Stara planina Ekološke nade u doba pandemije, rasizma  i političkog vodvilja Aktivizam, Odbrana reka, Pravna borba, Priroda Aleksandar Panić

From showing up on the doorsteps of the institutions, searching for all possible ways to get media attention, to facing the bats and tear gas, regular people, in contrast to all other frustrating stumbling, stronger than any other "social factor" arises today to defend life. Not some rivers, of forests, or against some chimneys, but in the defense of life itself.

Epidemic of nature destruction and its subjugation to only one category: quick, destructive and reckless profit, has reached the proportions of the life threat. On our micro and great planetary plan, there's less and less space uninfected with the virus of recklessness. The difference between the deforestation of Amazonia and oak cutting in Fruška Gora is only in the proportion. Either misbehavior takes us to less new oxygen, more erosion and lack of quality reserves of clean water.

There's no difference between measuring rainwater in Bolivia and the destruction of Rakitska river bed. One is a finals of criminal coupling of the authorities and corporative suckers of water, ore, wood and slavery, and the other is opening one of hundreds of biological graveyards of mountain rivers, multiplication of erosive dangers and trampling of all rights of life which relies on undisturbed, oscillating mountain creek waters.

All the rights to healthy environment were suspended by the bylaws, amendments and disrespect of those whose life relies on the moderate use of everything that surrounds us: rock, wood, water, agricultural land and air for centuries. Biological illiteracy and arrogance to fake the conditions, forecasts, studies or simply finding mediocrities wherever turning the head to the other side is a cherished feature, have become MO of the creators of the nature mugging. Intertwining of suitable features stretches over the entire system, like metastasis. From the President to PM, to ministers to uninterested water inspector, to forest technician, to portable mayor... Everything except the interest in doing their jobs.

Fake promises, buying time, declaring incompetence, obstruction, closing media and ignoring reports about breaking the laws in the absence of elementary functions of legal system, actions of the attorneys and courts; all of this is present in Serbia for decades, yet, past five years can with a reason be called a period of massacre of Serbian nature. On the dark side, Serbia has got crying rivers, cut down forests, activation of the dirtiest metallurgy and energetic industry, wasting the most fertile land. On the so-called bright side, are year-long echo of preaching eco-tourism, production of ecologically acceptable food, independent agriculture, all with a refrain of sharing vouchers of solidarity for visiting middle-age melting plant, heating plant and thermal power-plant with invisible filters and city cloaca on the water sources.

With such balance, with the usurped decision making and authority instruments, with media magnates who sell disinformation and madness as news, with "green fog" in houses of parliament and forums, the road of the genuine eco-activism has been rocky. It presumed eliminating media neglect by accepting incriminating and unfruitful meetings with the authorities of all levels, standing in front of the police cordons and private security, sitting, laying and camping on bridges, parks, in front of the bulldozers and river-eaters. Organizing dozens of eco-meetings. Three-year long spitting by the tabloids, showering with lies and court deadlines...

Activist movements defending rivers, mountains, city parks, air, stand again next to one another. They all gather on 13 June in front of Nemanjina 11 St. Without too many hope, aware that the one thing standing between things which make life on one side and its total degradation and destruction, are they, their courage and conscience.

Author: Aleksandar Panić

activist of the "Defend the Rivers of Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains)" movement 

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