One of the poorest villages in Romania has been standing up against the US giant corporation Chevron for almost four months now.Â Subsequently, they are facing the Romanian State, brutality from riot…
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In an attempt to prevent fracking, villagers and activists broke the fences surrounding 22,000 acres of wide terrain, where Chevron is starting to explore for shale gas. The conflict has been mounting over the past week in particular, after the government imposed a military-style blockade against the village. The government police blocked the roads, basically isolating villagers: even children were not allowed to go to the near-by village school.
With the help of activists from different Romanian cities, villagers managed to stop the explorations of Chevron on Saturday. The riot police, almost outnumbering them, failed to stop the resistors. The 500 strong anti-Chevron resistance defeated the 400 strong riot police, and managed to tear down the fences surrounding the explorations site. In anger, people threw stones at the Chevron equipment. The riot police responded with brutality.
Following this, dozens protesters were detained. 15 people will be prosecuted under the penal code, they risk at least 2 years of jail. 14 people will be criminally prosecuted for cursing the cops. 7 people were financially punished, and will be forced to pay fines from 500 lei to 5,000 lei for refusing to disobey the riot police’s orders. The fines are huge: 500 lei is almost the entire monthly pension of these people.
A doctor from Vaslui, George Silvestrovici, tells the story of how he was illegally arrested and injured. “When I heard the police order people to move away, I left. In a hurry I fell and hurt my leg. I could not move, I stayed on the ground. Suddenly a riot police van came up and I was captured, with no explanation. I was taken to the police station in Vaslui, together with some dozens of protesters. They kept me there for 5 hours, no medical assistance, nothing. They never told me why they arrested me. Then suddenly they let us go. No explanation, nothing. This is an abuse.”
After the skirmishes, some activists retired to their remaining tents that the riot police failed to dismantle days ago. The villagers ran to their homes, chased by the police, who blocked the road in and out of the village again.
When night fell, the riot police unexpectedly unleashed terror against the village. They destroyed activists’ tents under the pretext of “being filthy,” as it happened in New York during the Occupy protests. A blockade was imposed again by the State troops, covering the entire Pungeşti commune.
Riot police stormed into people’s houses, beating them, threatening them, and kidnapping them from their beds to take them to the police station. Some villagers were fined because they let activists sleep in their houses over night, “illegally.
People hid in their houses in darkness for fear of being attacked. 20 people were caught by the state thugs in the local store from the near-by village, Armăşoaia. They went there to keep warm, but were still brutally arrested by the riot police.
Mariana Moroşanu, a local woman from the village Armăşoaia, called a TV station in Bucharest and described what happened: “Around 7:30 pm, I went to the local store for some groceries. Suddenly, a police van appeared down the road. 10 masked riot police descended. They ran towards us and started to hit us. They beat us brutally. They beat women and men, locals and visitors. They captured some people and threw them in their van. Someone threw a stone at their van. We will not give in, I tell you.”
Vasile Lungu, a local man, confirmed this: “It was dark already and I was in the store. Suddenly masked riot cops stormed in. They started to hit us. A boy took out his phone to record what was happening. They attacked him and then they yelled at us that, if we dare film them, they will confiscate our phones. They ordered the lights out. A cousin of mine, who suffers from a handicap, and I were beaten just for being in the store. Then the riot cops told us: ‘If you tell anyone about this, we’ll be back.’”
Another witness wrote this on her Facebook account: “They (the riot police) arrest people from their houses. They storm in, and beat people in their houses. We hide inside. The lights are out. We wait. What do we wait for? We don’t know. We’ve called 112 (the emergency police service) to ask for help, nothing happened. They said they can’t do anything about it. Outrageous!”
Neocolonialism, the fracking way
What is happening at Pungeşti, one of the poorest places in Romania, is an all-out capitalist war. It has been underway for almost four months now. On one side are the US giant Chevron, lobbied among others by former US army general Wesley Clark, the Romanian government and its armed thugs. On the other – the elderly poor locals from Pungeşti, parents and kids, and activists. Chevron, supported by the Romanian State, fights to get its hands on shale gas. The villagers continue to fight to save their land and water resources.
The Romanian State, who usually appear nationalistic and full of religious and patriotic values, is blatantly backing the US giant corporation. The Romanian government has given Chevron 22,000 acres of land in Pungeşti, by a special law, to start explorations for shale gas by hydraulic fracturing.
The government granted Chevron rights to explore for shale gas in three other places, in South-East Romania, in Constanţa county: Vama Veche, Adamclisi şi Costineşti.
The government ignored people’s fears that fracking would ruin water resources.
On the contrary, the government claims that fracking is essential for “Romania’s future development,” (classic government propaganda serving a capitalist agenda). They still have not justified why this “development” risks ruining people’s lives and destroying vital water resources.
Before the 2012 parliamentary elections, the current prime-minister, Victor Ponta opposed these deals, as he accused the former Prime-Minister, Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu (previously the chief of a secret Romanian service) for cutting a shady, secret deal. After he became Prime Minister, Ponta suddenly expressed support for Chevron and gave them the green light to start exploring. Him and the the Romanian president are the most staunch propagandists for Chevron.
How did this happen? It’s got a lot to do with the US Global Shale Gas Initiative.
Man in the shadows: former US Army General Wesley Clark presented as „an the excellent economist”, a.k.a fracking lobbyist
Victor Ponta, from the Social-Democrats, became prime-minister after huge street protests in Romania led to the sacking of two right-wing governments, backed by the current president. Soon after the coalition backing him won the local elections in the summer of 2012, and before they won the parliamentary elections too later that year, Ponta bragged he has a new adviser on issues of “economic strategy”: Wesley Clark, former US army general, whose order, while being NATO chief commander during the Kosovo war, for Russian troops to be attacked in Pristina was denied by a British general telling him: “I won’t start a third world war for you!”
After he retired, he tried to run in the 2004 US presidential elections. Later on, Wesley Clark became executive at BNK Petroleum, which obtained licences to explore for shale gas in Poland, despite huge local opposition there.
Ponta explained how he was “so lucky” to meet Wesley Clark in Vienna, at a conference on energy, and convinced the former US army general to become his personal adviser: “I was incredibly lucky to meet (Clark). It is a great chance. General Clark is an extraordinary economist, he is involved at the highest level in developing economic strategies. He is a man anyone would want to work for him, and no prime-minister would miss such an opportunity.”
While visiting Romania in the summer of 2012, Wesley Clark declared: “I know shale gas has a great future in Romania. I think I can convince investors to come here and to help Romania’s economic growth. We know there is a global energy revolution underway, and Romania has lots of such resources. There are also lots of water resources which could be used to produce energy. I think Romania can become a major energy exporter,” in an interview for a local paper.
After the riot police imposed a military-style blockade against the people of Pungeşti, following their relentless resistance, the Romanian Prime Minister saluted the brutality of the police beating people: “I praise the riot police for their actions (beating old defenseless people) at Pungeşti. They enforced the law.”
Locals are determined to resist Chevron, the government and their riot police, as the tensions grow day by day.
In another development, the local mayor of Oradea, north-west Romanian, refused a request by a Hungarian company, a subcontractor of Russian Gazprom, to start exploring for shale gas. Local media saluted the mayor’s refusal for saving their water resources.
Weeks ago, villagers from central Romania county of Sibiu blocked similar explorations by a Romanian company. Resistors took the company’s equipment and banned them from their land, despite being attacked and threatened by the police.
Tuturor celor care nu vreţi să vedeţi, tuturor celor încă orbi prin proprie opţiune, vă spun aşa: tot ce au câştigat părinţii voştri dându-şi sângele la Revoluţie, tot binele (mult, puţin) pe care aţi reuşit voi să-l faceţi şi menţineţi, mai cu seamă tot viitorul copiilor voştri vă este acum, repede şi eficient, furat, anulat, dacă nu vi-l apăraţi va fi şters ca şi când n-ar fi fost vreodată. Şi să nu faceţi pe scepticii, să nu spuneţi ‘ce-am avut şi ce-am pierdut’. Vă spun: opriţi-vă o clipă, daţi-vă jos din carusel, uitaţi-vă în jur şi înţelegeţi odată. Binele vostru nu poate fi smuls, solitar, prin aranjamente, prin muncă dincolo de epuizare, prin vechile metode ale românului ‘descurcăreţ’ şi ‘supravieţuitor’, din răul naţiunii şi al lumii, binele vostru nu se va putea niciodată clădi solid şi adevărat pe nenorocirea care vă înconjoară şi la creşterea căreia, prin lipsă de reacţie, contribuiţi în fiecare zi.
Vă mai spun: da, cuvintele astea pe care simţiţi nevoia să nu le mai citiţi, fiindcă rănesc şi vi se par nedrepte s-ar putea, ar fi bine să fie doar nebunia unui exaltat, a unui om descentrat datorită apucăturilor lui activiste, care vede în jur mult mai mult rău decât de fapt există. Primul strat al sistemului vostru de autoapărare psihică vă spune asta, şi e posibil să aibă dreptate. Gândiţi-vă însă la adevărata problemă care apare dacă, de fapt, staţi ca struţul cu capul în pământ: gradul de anormalitate al ‘activiştilor’ devine atunci, brusc, o chestiune secundară.
Vă spun: în România se legiferează fărădelegea. Din cauza Roşiei Montana, e pe cale să treacă prin Camera Deputaţilor, decizională, o lege a minelor care depăşeşte cu mult gravitatea celei împotriva căreia au ieşit în stradă zeci de mii de oameni în toamnă. Vă spun: la Pungeşti s-a instalat prima enclavă de dictatură şi teroare asupra cetăţenilor, un experiment ‘în eprubetă’, asupra unei comunităţi mici, teoretic aflată ‘la baza’ scării sociale, care dacă reuşeşte (din punctul de vedere al guvernanţilor) va fi împins spre generalizare. În România există, la ora la care scriu, un loc unde teroarea, călcarea în picioare a legii şi a oamenilor, violenţa nu doar cu acordul, ci la ordinul direct al Statului sunt în plină şi cum nu se poate mai concretă desfăşurare. Oamenii aceia v-ar putea fi părinţi, fraţi, surori; copiii ăia (aruncaţi pe neaşteptate într-un război pe care, Slavă Domnului, nu-l percep în toată gravitatea lui) care, săracii, cântă pe marginea drumului, ar putea fi… nu, vor fi copiii voştri dacă nu faceţi acum ceva să le schimbaţi acest viitor.
Vă spun: astea nu mai sunt vorbe, e chiar ceea ce se întâmplă. Nişte bestii au intrat în casa vecinului, nenorocesc în auzul vostru o familie prietenă, iar voi daţi muzica mai tare şi vă bucuraţi că nu s-au oprit la uşa voastră. Vă spun: problema cu bestiile e că nu se vor opri acolo – dimpotrivă, curajul şi pofta lor creşte cu fiecare furt, fiecare bătaie, fiecare viol, cu fiecare reuşită, şi într-o zi inevitabil le veţi fi victime. Sau oricum, veţi trăi tot restul vieţii mai îngroziţi, ascunşi, îngrămădiţi în voi înşivă, micşoraţi de frică decât dacă aţi fi fost cu adevărat violaţi.
Vă spun: suntem chiar în pragul nenorocirii, sunt ultimele momente, ultimele zile când treaba asta s-ar mai putea opri fără să curgă sânge nevinovat. Dincolo de asta, dincolo de strigătul ăsta al meu atât de disperat încât are toate aspectele neverosimilului, eu nu mai am ce face. Decât să mă rog (cum, vă asigur, mă rog din toate puterile şi lui Dumnezeu, şi destinului, şi realităţii) să fiu eu nebun şi să aveţi voi, în ceea ce mie îmi pare a fi somnolenţa voastră inconştient criminală, dreptate.
Celor de la Roşia Montana şi din împrejurimi, care doriţi deschiderea ‘minei’, vă spun: da, bucuraţi-vă: uneori eu, şi probabil toţi ceilalţi ‘inamici’ ai voştri, suntem obosiţi dincolo de orice margine. Uneori, toată puterea ne părăseşte, pentru câte, poate, cinci minute îngrozitoare, şi atunci ne spunem aşa: lasă să se facă mina. În ultimă, ultimă instanţă, cei care contează sunt oamenii, iar oamenii, chiar dacă sufletul li se va rupe şi îmbolnăvi, pot pleca în cele din urmă din locul de unde toate Puterile lumii ăsteia căzute îi alungă. Uneori ne spunem, îmi spun aşa: lasă să plece din Roşia Montană toţi ‘rezistenţii’ de azi; pentru cei demni, adevăraţi, cu putere de realitate şi de muncă se va găsi un alt loc, unde să continue cu o rană imensă în piept, dar cu datoria faţă de ei înşişi şi ceilalţi făcută.
Vă spun celor care ‘nu doriţi decât să munciţi’: iar voi să rămâneţi acolo, şi să staţi să vedeţi asta: cum vă vor crăpa casele, cum se vor umple drumul, camerele, plămânii voştri de praf irespirabil, blocând lumina soarelui. Cum se vor otrăvi fântânile, cum se vor usca iarba şi pomii. Cum vă vor muri orătăniile, nu doar lăsându-vă flămânzi, ci privindu-vă în ochi la sfârşit ca să înţelegeţi că voi le-aţi ucis. Cum vi se vor îmbolnăvi copiii şi, dacă ei supravieţuiesc, copiii copiilor lor, cum veţi alerga pe la doctori cheltuind, plângând şi cheltuind până nu veţi mai avea de unde. Cum se va-nnegri cerul şi se va cutremura pământul, şi mai ales cum vă vor părăsi toţi, absolut toţi, ca pe nişte ciumaţi – pentru că nimeni nu va vedea în voi nişte victime, ci nişte viruşi, şi vor avea perfectă dreptate. Cum nimeni nu va mai cumpăra un bob de porumb, un pahar de lapte de la voi, fiindcă oricine va ocoli cale de kilometri buni ca să nu treacă prin otrava voastră. Cum, prea, mult prea târziu, veţi înţelege şi vă veţi da cu capetele de pereţi, întrebându-l pe Dumnezeu de ce v-a părăsit, singuri şi muribunzi, fără lumină a zilei, fără somn noaptea, fără speranţă.
E acesta un blestem? Fireşte că da, însă nu e al meu, e chiar ce v-ar aduce Goldul, a cărui mână poleită cu aur fals o sărutaţi astăzi, în genunchi şi cu spinarea frântă, de o mie de ori în fiecare zi.
Politicienilor vă spun: voi sunteţi însuşi întunericul. Voi, oricum aţi lua-o, orice avantaje aţi avea, ştiţi deja undeva în adânc (şi vom avea grijă să vă amintim mereu) că aţi coborât în subuman. Veţi avea, poate – dacă nu ne trezim acum, cu siguranţă veţi avea – mult mai multă putere decât acum. Dar şi incomparabil mai mult dispreţ, mai multă revoltă. Veţi pluti trăgând dâre în mulţime ca nişte mari nave greoaie, spoit-dichisite cu aur, încercând să nu respiraţi, să nu trageţi în piept nesfârşita noastră ură. Dar de fiecare dată (şi, Doamne, cât de multe vor fi) când nu vă veţi putea ţine răsuflarea, plămânii voştri se vor umple cu boala noastră.
Iar în ziua când veţi fi destul de bolnavi vom da cu voi de pământ. Sau sub pământ.
Vă spun, în fine, tuturor: la capătul tuturor pierderilor posibile stă libertatea. Nu posesiunile pământeşti, nici gloria. Nici măcar credinţa, nici măcar speranţa. Ci libertatea care vă face oameni. Credincioşilor vă spun: Dumnezeu nu poate să intre dacă nu alegeţi, pe deplin liberi, să-i deschideţi uşa; dacă vă simţiţi constrânşi a o deschide, acela nu e Dumnezeu. Ateilor vă spun: singura voastră speranţă e să faceţi binele acum, aici, deci nevoia voastră de libertate e şi mai mare decât a celorlalţi. Ceea ce pentru ceilalţi e credinţă, pentru voi e speranţă, dar astea amândouă sunt simple himere, vise fără fond, câtă vreme nu aveţi dreptul şi puterea concretă să faceţi realitatea să fie prin voi.
S-au scris şi sunt la câteva zile de a fi adoptate legi pentru a ucide libertatea roşienilor, apoi pe a oricui stă în calea unei exploatări miniere. Dincolo de orice teorie, în concretul cel mai concret, la Pungeşti oamenii sunt capturaţi, intimidaţi, privaţi la modul fizic de libertăţile şi drepturile lor fundamentale. Unde aşteptăm, oare, să ajungem? Va trebui iar, a câta oară, în mileniul al treilea, în secolul mult aşteptat XXI, să curgă sânge – ca întotdeauna, nevinovat? Suntem în continuare atât de slabi încât să acceptăm zei ticăloşi şi să avem nevoie de sacrificii?
Va fi Decembrie 2013 luna, va aduce ziua, ora reinstaurării întunericului? Vom sta în continuare cu mâinile în sân contemplându-l ca pe o eclipsă? Eclipsele trec. Însă întunericul despre care vă vorbesc nu pleacă de la sine. Şi odată instaurat e foarte greu să-l risipeşti, pentru că ajunge să te pătrundă pe dinăuntru.
Vă spun încă o dată la sfârşit: ceasul al doisprezecelea a început să bată; mijeşte sfârşitul lumii noastre, prăbuşirea şi pe urmă uitarea a tot ce a fost bun. Vă conjur: treziţi-vă, poate totuşi nu e prea târziu.
To do list
Pungesti, Romania, a village under SIEGE after a violent intervention of Riot Police Forces, requested by CHEVRON Call for International support – December, 2nd, 2013 / Addressed to The European Parliament, The European Commission, to The Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament and to all #humanrigts NGOs that can monitor and act NOW on this attack.
After facing strong opposition from local community and from a strong national movement of support, Chevron had to scale down activities in Pungesti. At least until last night, when the assault started around 6 AM!The riot police and CHEVRON joined forces to dismantle the local resistance group camped across the road from the field where Chevron plans to explore for shale gas, using hydraulic fracturing. After 2 months of resistance, 40 people were beaten, arrested and taken to the nearest town for further investigations. The Spokesperson from the Riot Police did not come out with a statement until much later and denied any abuse, while the riot police officers prevented the people from filming and recording the intervention. Media representatives do not have access to the site, and the road to Pungesti is blocked by Chevron equipment and Police intervention cars.Children cannot go to school at this point. The life of the entire community has been severely disrupted. The road is also blocked for anyone else, the villagers cannot go to work and the press is kept kilometers away from Pungesti.
All this was planned in detail by the local authorities, the Police and Chevron in order to help the company install it’s shale gas exploring equipment on the site despite prior official statement from Chevron country manager Tom Holst to halt any activity until the community agrees with the project. The same equipment will be used for the exploitation phase as well. This abusive intervention is without precedent in a democratic Romania and it follows two months of continuous harassment and intimidation of the local community. It is an irresponsible, dangerous attack on human and civil rights, as recognized worldwide. All this is happening a day after the Romania National Day, in a context of large 3 months nationwide (and international) protests against fracking and cyanide use in Romania. Please spread the news and help us rise awareness on this difficult situation in Romania. Wherever you may be.
Contact your representatives and ask them to act immediately against this abusive behavior of the Romanian authorities against the people.
December, 2nd, 2013
After facing strong opposition from local community and from a strong national movement of support, Chevron had to scale down activities in Pungesti. Until last night, when the assault started at 5 AM!
Police and CHEVRON joined forces to dismantle the local resistance group camped right on the field where Chevron plans to explore for shale gas. After 2 months of resistance, 40 people were beaten, arrested on their own land and taken to the nearest town for further investigations. The Spokesperson from the Jandarmerie cannot be reached, the media does not have access at the site, and the road to Pungesti is blocked by Chevron equipment and Police intervention cars.
Children cannot go to school at this point. The road is also blocked for anyone else, the villagers cannot go to work, the press is kept kilometers away from Pungesti. All this was planned in detail by the local authorities, the Police and Chevron to help the company install it’s shale gas exploring equipment on the site.
This abusive intervention is without precedent in democratic Romania. It is an irresponsible, dangerous attack on human and civil rights, as recognized worldwide. All this is happening a day after the Romania National Day, in a context of large 3 months nationwide (and international) protests against fracking and cyanide use in Romania.
Please spread the news and help us rise awareness on this difficult situation in Romania. Wherever you may be. Contact your representatives and ask them to act immediately against this abusive behavior of the Romanian authorities against the people.
This morning, shortly before 6 AM, 45 vehicles, including police vans and heavy machinery, arrived in the Resistance Camp in Pungesti. Less than 90 people were in the camp and they were completely isolated. The riot police blocked the road and erected fences around the people in the camp, despite the fact that the camp was on private property! The riot police beat up people, restricted the access for members of the press and refused to make public statement, justifying their intervention. The people in the camp were peaceful. 7 people were taken to the police station without justification and the people in the village were not allowed to leave their yard, as the village is under martial law. Two people were transported to the hospital. One of them was hit by a riot police officer. The Resistance Camp in Pungesti came into being after Chevron first tried to bring its heavy machinery into the area at the beginning of October in order to start the exploitation of shale gas despite massive opposition from the side of the community! The people protested and Chevron representatives came out in public to declare that all activity will be suspended until the people are safe and informed. Nothing has happened since then, only constant intimidation, threatening of the local community, some people were deprived of their social assistance and others were harassed constantly!
What happened before this:
For the last month and a half, he authorities are playing mice and cats with the people there, after the intervention in force on the 16th of October, when 3 people were injured. Meanwhile, there have been 2 false alarms that they will intervene again, just to wear off the people and make them not pay any attention to the real alert, when it will come.Last week, on the 27th of November, they mobilised the riot police, the police and some ambulances in the area, the people gathered there and made a human chain, and they withdrew after a short while (stating it was a “regular” exercise of the riot police) but the people already spread the news on the internet, so they were afraid to intervene, after all. In fact, what prevented the riot police from really using the most violent means during the intervention on the 16th of October was the fact that there was a very quick mobilization of the people and of media, as well, who broadcast the clashes live, thus preventing the worst.
This is a psy-war the government is playing with the citizens of Romania.Please share this information to the media outlets you are in contact with! Any help highly appreciated!
the dog I long for…
"Barca bench" by Jacob Joergensen
©andibuftea - salt depths of the earth. Turda Salt Mines - CJ, RO
You can whip one of these up in a matter of minutes. They’re so easy to make and they work really well. First find yourself some scissors and a beverage can and then start the above video. This is an inexpensive way to be prepared in the event of a power outage as these stoves give off a lot of heat and have the ability to cook large meals.
They also make great holiday gifts for friends and family.
For more great repurposing ideas, check out Repurposing 24/7
Via @ Real Farmacy