Students are also involved in experiments on genetic modification of products, as well as watching educational videos (in which hybridization, genetic engineeringand in vitro cultivation appear as ways of improving natural crop production); at the end of this “learning” process, they are asked to give the “right” answers.
From the very beginning, Archipelagos, Institute of Marine Conservation, disproves of this exhibition. A letter was send to Eugenides Foundation, denouncing the exhibition as a part of a well-organized strategy for the promotion of genetically modified products in Greece by multinational corporations aiming to become the dominant global nutritional monopoly.
Based on the same logic, there are seminars that take place monthly in several locations throughout Greece. They aim to arouse interest and break farmers’ resistance, paving the way for the import of GMO’s in Greece. The same logic is also used on a diplomatic level, by the USA on the matter of legalization of genetically modified seeds import and cultivation. The statement made by the former alternate Minister of Environment, Mr.Theodoros Coliopanos is characteristic of the situation: “The pressures exerted upon us are past all belief… The first visit paid to every new Minister is by the USA ambassador, who is asking for GMO importing in Greece.”
Against this practice, strong efforts to inform the people and sharpen farmers’ critical thinking are made both by Archipelagos (a member of Rural Development Ministry’s working party for the protection of local agricultural varieties threatened with extinction) and by several Greek institutions.
However, events like this particular exhibition held at Eugenides Foundation, breed feelings of astonishment and exasperation. It is a shocking fact that children—who have not yet developed adequate critical thinking —are brain washed by this corporate philosophy, in which patent and profit via immoral methods are placed over nature.
The way the state of affairs is in Greece,leaves no space for complacency. Only in a few decades, the vast majority of wheat varieties have been wiped out. Recent research has shown that only 2-3% of the vegetable varieties that existed in Greece 50 years ago have been rescued and are still cultivated today. At the same time, dozens of reports have revealed both the harmful consequences caused by GMOs in agricultural production as well as the great threat posed to public health.
Archipelagos, through the creation of the “Ark”—the Aegean Seed Bank, battles daily for the collection and long-term preservation of the few remaining Greek seed varieties. Also, through the “Ark”, Archipelagos ensures the multiplication and propagation of the safe cultivation of local varieties; thus, reducing the risk of cross-contamination by genetically modified plants.
On the same wave length, many citizen networks, organizations, NGOs (Aegilops, Peliti, BiotechWatch, The Seed, Biozo etc.) both in Greece and abroad, have created a dynamic information network to acquaint the public with the need to protect the phytogenic material, which for centuries now, adapts itself to each regional soil and climate change.
Archipelagos stands against this propaganda, which aims to infect perceptions, sell out the Greek phytogenic material and make us depended on their food. This is a call to institutions, environmental organizations, citizen networks and each and every citizen that perceives the problem, to make a stand.This is a call to exert pressure on the administration of Eugenides Foundation in order to withdraw this exhibition, which acts as a modern Trojan horse in the process of making GMOs look harmless and import themto Greece.
Ignorance is dangerous and silence is complicity.