Parnitha fire & protests
The morning of Sunday 29 July, an intervention was made in Mont Parnes (a casino in ,Mount Parnitha which was recently burned, the same casino which tries to expand to the burned grounds of the mountain): banners where opened , some slogans where shouted and red paint was thrown.
The moving of the state mechanisms was constant, many-sided and long, different than the days the mountain was burning. Riot police, under cover police and helicopters where "guarding" the burned forest of Parnitha , the "natural" source of profit. The protection of profit and the unblocked work of gamblers seems to have greater importance than the natural environment.
26 people (of the approximately 35-40 that originally went there) were arrested with the help of the casino workers and the mayor of Thrakomakedones municipality , Themis Oikodomou. The arrested where beaten up while they where hand-cuffed and then held in the GADA (Central Police Control Athens) without medical help and even without water. It is also remarkable that when they complained about the conditions of their arrest they where brutally attacked inside the police headquarters by a squat of riot police.
Immediately after their move in GADA a group of people met in front of the headquarters to express their solidarity. They stayed there until late in the night when charges where announced . Disturbance of peace and unprovoked damages. The charges where announced after the complaint of the Casino.
After the holocaust of Parnitha and the anxious rescue of the casino (while the forest was indifferent), the company Regency Εntertainment, few days before showed it's hypocritical "ecological" feelings announcing that it will sponsor the re-foresting of the area, after though the bestowal of 62.5 acres for the expansion of Mont Parnes.
Some historical background on the 'protected' forests of Parnitha:
Parnitha, with its marvelous forests, a place with rich raw flora, including a thousand species of plants and also some rich wild life (such as deers, chamoises, foxes, coyotes, bunnies, badgers, hedgehogs, squirrels, reptiles, amphibians and lots of flying creatures, including raptors such as hawks and eagles, as well as little twitting birds, such as redcaps , goldfinches and picklocks) was our favourite mountain, the one that hosted many of our walks around the hills, the tops, the rivers and the canyons.
It hasn't been more than one year since we last referred to the danger of Parnitha being destroyed, which, despite being accredited as a protected natural forest since decades, has the tops of its hills spotted by military bases, the broadcasting centre, the tourist shelters which work in corporate interest and the well-known Mont Parness Hotel/Casino, built by the National Organisation of Tourism in 1958 on Mavrovouni top and given to the Hyatt Corporation in 2002 (and to the BC Partners in 2006), the reason for a lot of environmental destruction in a wider area where extended constructions are about to take place.
"Very close to Athens, there is the forest group of Parnitha, full of forests, which, not protected at all by the plans of the statists and the hunger of the capitalists, is waiting its destruction" (...) " Given the momentum of the capitalists, if the carelessness and the apathy against their plans keep up, Parnitha will follow the rest of the Attica mountains which have had and keep on having lots of irreversible destructions (Anarchist Report, num 41, October 2006).
This is why hundreds friends of the forest, held a demonstration in Parnitha, against the decision for giving 3 million square meters of forest, in the heart of the protected forest, for building things as hostels, restaurants, shopping centers, resulting to an environmental disaster. (4th March 2002)
Though, there was a more serious disaster; a real holocaust was about to hapen in Parnitha, before the real plans of the Hellenic Tourist Estates co. and the BC Partners would be implemented.
It was a fire that resulted from sparkles in a high-voltage pylon of the Electricity Company, in the village Stephani in Dervenochoria, due to the overload on the network, that lead to a fire hurricane that burnt all over Parnitha. The criminal delay in facing the fire, in order to avoid an electricity black-out in Athens, let the fire climb up the mountain and go giant, swallowing the forest. More than 25 million square meters of forests, out of the 38 million square meters of the kernel of the Protected forest were burnt, along with some millions of sq meters on the surrounding area.
Although it was not the first time the fire hit Parnitha, even if it had been expected since years, as all the surrounding mountain forests have been burnt, there was neither an immediate response, nor a preparation, a basic organization and co-ordination in order to avoid the worst case and have the national park saved.
The forest of Parnitha, along with the rich wild life that lived there, are lost; they became a huge cloud of smoke and ashes above Athens, spreading a darksome and misty light of apocalypse. Millions of metropolitan residents were watching the terror, passive, in their destiny, worthy of their future, while the minister of civil order Polydoras was in a ridiculous triumph for saving the Casino.
Finally, the unprecedented ecological disaster in Parnitha is not a result just of the stupidity and the incapability of the ones responsible. It is a result of the war that the Power has declared against the human and the nature. It is a disaster with countless social and cultural aspects, while the first environmental consequences will be immediately noticeable in the following years, including the disastrous increase of the temperature, dry-outs and floods in Attica valley.
The ancient firry forest of Parnitha will never be the same, not even in 100 years; it will stay alive, as it used to be, only in our dreams and memories. An amazingly beautiful mountainous paradise, a school of nature which offered endless moments of joy, recreation, game, adventure and emotion, turned into an calvary place in one night.
As for the question on who is responsible for this crime, in this case, as in any similar case, it is no-one apart from the system of the state and the capitalist organisation of the society, where all the political and economical authorities attack the humanity and the natural environment, destroying and luting, in an effort to maximize profiteering and social control. We are as guilty, for the destruction and luting which leave behind a burnt ground (both literally and metaphorically) in the society and the nature, as long as we bend in apathy just watching.
Ora Nihil 30.6.2007
For the anarchist report "Black Flag"