Seeds (March against Mons****)

In my hands the palette of the world:
gold in the soya, silver in the rice,
tomorrow I’ll submit a patent
on the dew.

Such is my nature, my star, my patron saint,
and such is the multinational taste of my name
on everyone’s plate.

(from the poem Seeds)

Vietnamese children, after exposure to the dioxin contained in Agent Orange, a powerful herbicide used by the US army during the Vietnam War. Published by Pitchada Jindasataporn on youth-leader.org magazine. Warning: clicking through to the article will take you to photographs a lot more disturbing than this one.

Vietnamese children, after exposure to the dioxin contained in Agent Orange, a powerful herbicide used by the US army during the Vietnam War. Published by Pitchada Jindasataporn on youth-leader.org magazine. Warning: clicking through to the article will take you to photographs a lot more disturbing than this one.

Tomorrow Saturday 25th May, in 428 cities in 38 countries, we’ll be marching against Franken-food, Agent Orange-inspired herbicide (otherwise known as Roundup), the collective suicide of Indian cotton farmers, and the corporate colonisation of the global food chain via the modification and patenting of seeds. We’ll also be protesting against the Mons**** Protection Act – disguised as the “Farmer Assurance Provision”, signed into US law on March 26th -, which, according to the International Business Times, “effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of controversial genetically modified (aka GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds, no matter what health issues may arise concerning GMOs in the future“.

wtfIn Valletta, Malta, the march will begin at City Gate at 10:30, circling Republic Street, St. John’s Street and Merchant Street, before joining the Worldfest at the Upper Barrakka Gardens.

In Luxembourg ville, meet at the Glacis at 14:30, and follow the march towards the Kneudler.

For other cities around the planet, you’ll find a comprehensive map at mons****march.org.

Here’s an excellent, highly informative short animation by Infomatic Films, summarising Mons****’s policies, the history of GMOs and resistance to them:

 And here’s a short video message by Dr Vandana Shiva, who tells us: “The march against Mons**** is inspired by the love for freedom and democracy, the love for the Earth, the soil, the seed. And it is our deep love for life on Earth in freedom that makes all of us march against Monsanto and we stand in solidarity with everyone, from the Seed Freedom Movement catalyzed by Navdanya.”

kieku

A few years back, I wrote a poem on the mad, inhuman policies of the GMO industry, entitled Seeds. It originally appeared in Maltese in the anthology Kieku l-Ikel Jitkellem (If Food Could Talk, published by Inizjamed), and later in English translation on Poetry24 and in the bilingual collection Bejn / Between. Here’s a slightly revised version of the English.

Seeds

I have a plan for the plants of the planet,
all plants, from A to Z –
four species are enough,
the alphabet is too long.

In a test tube
see me dive
straight to the heart of the cell,
see me slide down the ribbon
of the spinning spiral stairs,
with a platinum syringe
I inject a hormone,
I straighten a chromosome,
I add a brand new genome,
then I rush back up like lightning
to admire the masterpiece:
a suicidal,
colour-changing seed.

Before the seed is sown
I must first slay the fields:
here with charcoal weeds,
here with the ink
of double-dealing lawyers,
here with the agent orange
of my saliva.

In the Americas, Africa, India,
wherever there is open space,
I’ll sell the seeds in scores
with their purpose-made herbicide,
until the face of the earth blossoms
with deserts of green.

It’s not a question of luck:
with fertiliser the harvest is certain,
overflowing, rich,
with nine-month contracts
and the sole condition
that whoever keeps seeds for the following season
I will take to court.

If the groundwater becomes polluted
I’ll buy it, filter it
and re-sell it,
if the children grow warts
I’ll give them a toy
to take it out on,
if the garden of a farmer fertilises
with patented pollen
I’ll snatch away with an edict
all of his lands.

Thus every acre of the land
I will tread without lifting my shoes:
under the lens of the microscope
I’ll build an entire empire,
a cornucopia of copies –
the realm of mouths,
of stomachs,
of bowels.

In my hands the palette of the world:
gold in the soya, silver in the rice,
tomorrow I’ll submit a patent
on the dew.

Such is my nature, my star, my patron saint,
and such is the multinational taste of my name
on everyone’s plate.

 

gm_foods

 

 

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About antoinecassar

Poet, translator, editor, activist http://antoinecassar.info http://passaportproject.org http://mondepasrond.org
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2 Responses to Seeds (March against Mons****)

  1. Pingback: Seeds (March against Mons****) | LE MONDE N'EST PAS ROND

  2. Pingback: Orcas Island | Antoine Cassar

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