While we fight ad nauseam about the benefits and shortcomings of 5G and vaccines, while we are thrown dust in the eyes by mundane politics and unintelligible television commercials until we become thoroughly sick and everything is reduced to a kindergarten theatrical performance, I would like to introduce to you a little friend who has become unavoidable condiment at every table and is found in the bodies of some 90% of us.

Ladies and gentlemen, please meet GLYPHOSATE. It was spawned in 1974 as a new-born pet kid of Monsanto; as the patent expired in 2000, it’s currently produced by many agrochemical companies. Pressurised by an extremely aggressive and powerful lobby, Bayer and Monsanto companies before all, the EU extended its licence for use by 2022.

This preparation is sold in Serbia under a variety of names: Glifosav, Glifohem, Sirkosan, Glifol, Glifomark, Bingo 480, Clinic 480-SL, Glyphogan, Roundup, Blade 48-SL; it is widespread on Serbian fields and used by nearly all large-scale farmers, in always growing quantities. As its use – according to agricultural experts – is justified by its economy, the hopes that something will change in near future are dim.

If you listen to Serbian experts, glyphosate is blameless: according to Nevena Ristić, Master of Agricultural Engineering at the Agricultural Advisory Office Požarevac Ltd. (kindly note the Ltd. part, so not exactly an office but a commercial enterprise): “A very efficient and economically justified means of weed eradication on stubble fields is the application of non-selective translocation herbicides, that is the formulations based on glyphosate as an active ingredient. It is the characteristic of these herbicides that they act on all the plants onto which they are deposited. Through the foliage, the herbicide is transported to all the plant organs both above and under the ground, and eradicates even the most stubborn agricultural weeds” (quotation from https://recnaroda.co.rs/suzbijanje-korova-na-strnistu/ - in Serbian).

Great. No ploughing, no digging, just spraying merrily.

Glyphosate is a total, non-selective systemic herbicide – weed killer. Killing everything green in its path. To reduce their costs, instead of ploughing and tilling, the farmers spray their fields. It is often used in orchards both by professionals and hobbyists as a means of “chemical mowing” as glyphosate, my dear friends, leaves behind nothing but a scorched, naked earth. It destroys everything… In fact, not exactly everything. There are crops made immune to glyphosate by genetical engineering: GMO maize, soya, sunflower, rape seed, sugar beet… Roundup is a sine qua non in the United States, used in terrifying quantities, everywhere, dementedly sprayed on vast plantations of genetically modified crops.

While we go for one another’s jugular about who’s right - the vaccination proponents or opponents - rottenly and quietly but en masse, glyphosate is finding its way to our table and our bodies. As early as 2015, the WHO marked this herbicide as “probably carcinogenic”. In addition, there’s a growing number of scientific studies proving the harmful effects of glyphosate: at people with high exposure, agricultural workers in fact, this herbicide increases the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by 41% (see Exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides and risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma: A meta-analysis and supporting evidence; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1383574218300887). Also, the research on animals proved the toxicity of glyphosate on beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, whereas the harmful bacteria are immune. At the same time, the harmful plants in many countries evolve into glyphosate-resistant superweeds. Glyphosate is linked to the ongoing epidemics of celiac disease and gluten intolerance in recent decades.

The Serbian society is deeply and tragically unaware of this issue and of the presence of this herbicide in the food we eat. While the Samurais of Computer Mouse, in incendiary posts and comments, call to demolition of the existing “criminal” social order, while they prattle about Bill Gates lecturing us the unenlightened heathens with the “get informed” mantra, most of the Serbia’s population lives in blissful ignorance, not knowing that the health of the nation is largely but slyly endangered by a poison banned in Austria in 2019, being the first European country to do so.

As opposite to our ignorance, there are more than 90,000 pending judicial procedures against Monsanto and Bayer in the US, and the first court award against these behemoths was announced in August 2018.

The agrochemical business is ruthless. The global market value of agrochemical products in 2019 amounted to head-spinning USD 243 billion; agrobusiness doesn’t care for human health but only for increasing the profit, by a single dollar, if only possible. It punches below the belt, twists facts, transfigures lies into truth, convinces us that the poison is beneficial, hires an army of rent-a-scientists…

So… Next time think a little before you justify buying your grocery at a large supermarket chain, to yourself or someone else, with a worn-out phrase “I don’t have time for green markets, it’s easier to buy everything in a single place”. Yes, it is easier and I do agree that the path to your health is a thornier one as you will have a hard time establishing your own network of reliable and trustworthy small-scale farmers. One of their hallmarks are prices somewhat higher than average. Even so, the difference boils down to two or three espressos per month. However, once you build your network, a few telephone rings will be enough to buy everything you need.

Or, even better – how many of us have somewhere a piece of forgotten, neglected land that would offer physical labour and exercise as a universal and free alternative to a suffocating gym hall?

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