|October 27, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
Earlier today protestors met outside the Romanian Embassy in Berlin in Solidarity of the Sunday protest in that have been gaining momentum in Romanian, and beyond since September. There were simultaneous protest all over Romania but also in Barcelona, Paris, and parts of South America.
Other banners and information called for:
- the Romanian parliament to reject the law that is expected to be voted next week
- the inclusion of Rosia Montana on the list of UNESCO candidates for patrimony
- that cynide mining will be forbidden in Romania and all over Europe. In Romania alone, 68 locations are in a similar danger as is Rosia Montana, according to Alburnus Maior,
- and the implementation of sustainable developmet programs in these areas, the protection of the environment and of the cultural patrimony.
United we will save Rosia Montana!
|October 20, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
Made whilst unpacking panniers from items foraged or carried along the way…this is just what would fit in the picture! (Click to enlarge).
This a thankyou to all the people who cycled alongside us.
For the people who cooked delicious creations – for those who built and fixed the rocket stoves (several times) - for giving us amazing contacts – for showing us inspiring projects – for welcoming us into you community, home or garden – for joining us around the fire - for those who lent me socks and clothes when mine were just too dirty or wet to bear - who let me squat their tent when the weather was too much to bear – for teaching me songs from far off lands – and for all the endless circles, the enlightening, the frustrating, the efficient and the mind bending. Thank you for driving us Beyond Borders! ; )
|October 10, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
|September 28, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
Biketour join local and International protestors at the anti mining protest at Campeni, 15km from Rosia Montana… (22nd September).
Arriving into Rosia Montana…
An example of the Pro mining banners that litter the town…. one reads ‘Rosia Montana only exisits because of MINING!’…
Several anti mining banners were put up overnight in Rosia Montana before the arrival of an ‘illegal commission‘, that was set up by the Romanian government to assess the legitimisation of the mining project in one day!
One banner reads ‘The Street Says No‘, the other comments about the illegal commission due to arrive later that morning. Another huge banner was dropped on one of the mountains due to be destroyed with a simple ‘NO!‘, however, all the banners were immediately torn down by an angry mob ‘minors’, before the commission arrived. (25th September)
Later that day protestors gather in Rosia Montana to protest about the commission with action samba…behind a fence! (25th September)
More protests follow again in Campeni, including an angry mob of local anti mining protestors outside the restaurant where the comminsion were eating, and needed police escorts to be able to leave.
The Biketour joined local and international activists at the week long skills share to support the struggle at a local level, and to learn from the expereince of global resistance to corporate greed.
View from our camp of the Transylvania mountains…
|September 18, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
After vising Atelier DIY in Timisoara, we made the short afternoon cycle 35km along a busy dual road, but luckily it was flat and with some kind of bikepath, of which the main features of the landscape were gigantic crucifixes in the distance. As we turned off for the last 10km it became vineyards, rolling hills, and the setting sun. We reached our sleeping place at Stanciova Farm just as it was getting dark, arriving to a warm welcome, an open fire and delicious home cooked food by Irina and Gab with vegetables from their garden and beautiful cup cakes!!!
Stanciova, is a project with Ecotopia Biketour history, and was set up after being inspired by participating in previous Biketours, and having a role in organising one of the Ecotopia Gatherings in Romania in 2006.
Originally we planned to just stay there for one night, but after an intense evening circle, we decided to accept their warm invitation to stay longer, particularly as some people were feeling quite drained from the intense time in the city. Besides it gave people the opportunity to rest, wash clothes, pick vegetables in their permaculture garden and plan workshops.
We also scheduled some time for a ‘Go Round’, where each person has time to freely express how they are coping with the tour or any of the topics important to them. These Go Rounds, although sounding daunting, became a really important way for the group to be able to empathize with each other, and a time free from practicalities, tasks or rotas, just to listen and be heard.
That evening (pictured above) we joined the people from the community to watch some films about Rosia Montana, including Prețul de Aur (The Price of Gold) as the description on You Tube states: ‘A 2004 documentary film about the Romans in Rosia Montana, displaced, disunited and turned into RMGC corporate hyenas.’
We also heard about the early days of the farm, and how they had been inspired by attending previous Biketours and Gatherings. Stanciova began as a place for people to volunteer and visit the permaculture gardens, but also as an eco community project, with an Ecotopia House where we were being hosted. Paul and Cristina told of how in the early years there was no communication facilities in the village, and so they raised money to set up a scheme to buy bikes for the children to become ‘Green Messengers’, to deliver mesages or errands for the less able bodied people. The Green Meggengers have since been replaced by a telephone line and the internet, but some of the bikes still remain!
Another project they started that is still in use is an internet surfing point outside the village hall. Inspired by something they had seen in Africa, there was a computer set behind the window facing out into the street with USB ports coming out of the wall. If anyone wanted to use the internet, they just had to collect the keyboard and mouse from next door and learn how to use it themselves. Apparently the usage is quite a bit of facebook not surprisingly, but also clearly for some homework. The idea is just to provide a place where people can teach themselves how to use a computer where there was nothing like that previously available.
The folowing stretch of the tour was to be quite a few days of wild camping in not so great weather, so persoanlly I was very greatful to spend an extra day recouporating with people who were so empathetic to the group, in beautiful surroundings, and use some time to mentally and physically prepare for the Transylvania mountains!
|September 16, 2013||Posted by leule under 2013, on the road|
In the last few weeks, a huge wave of protests has hit all parts of Romania (and beyond) since September as people fight against a catastrophic gold mining project in Rosia Montana, close to Cluj. This project has been initiated by the Canadian-owned Rosia Montana Gold Corporation and would be the largest gold mine in Europe. The project would use cyanide-mining techniques requiring thousands of tonnes of the dangerous chemical, which would have massive impacts on the environment of the whole region. Or better to say, on that part of the region that would still be left; the project would in fact involve the destruction of four mountains in the area, the resettlement and relocation of about 2000 people and the demolishing of houses, churches and cemeteries.
Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Romania and other countries to protest against this “predictable catastrophe”. We were happy to join the protests in Timisoara (above) on the 15th September as part of the regular Sunday protests in the whole of Romania, and more recently across the globe. Act local, think global!
In Timisoara we stayed at the Protest Camp Occupation in the Unirii Square, who have recently been granted permission to stay there until the end of the year. There we met with local activists and witnessed great local support, despite the few drunken locals who shouted, ‘You don’t even know where Rosia Montana is!’… well I hope at least the scout team do!
|September 12, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
In Zrenjanin we met up with some of the ex workers from a long standing worker owned factory struggle at Jugoremedija, that has been under threat of Privatization since 2000.
Serbian politicians and investors fear this kind of organising, despite being sucessful, will “bring us back to the dark days of self-management”.
You can read an English write up of the history of the struggle, and similar struggles in Serbia, in the above link.
We spent one night hosted in the garden of a library that was donated to the council by the author of serval books about the resistance in Serbia. There where we had a discussion with the workers, partly filmed, and met up with others who stayed a little longer in Beograd.
|September 12, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
On entering Belgrade (8th September) we met up with some of the local Critical Mass crew along the Danube, led by a Serbian Biketour veteran, who showed us some of the problems for cyclists that are squeezed off the roads by heavy car and summer pedestrian traffic.
Our mini Critical Mass ended on the outskirts of Belgrade, at the ex cinematography factory, now a thriving squatted social center where we were to be hosted called Inex Film.
The huge building at Inex was once left abandoned, and squatted by various characters, latterly artists and activists who revived it from being near derelict into what it is today.
It now hosts many artist workshops, studios and exhibition spaces; a bar, D.I.Y Info Shop, evens, concerts and film screenings, along with a circus training room and a school for local Roma children.
The building has had many guises, and now although occupied by very different groups, they try by consensus to stick to some basic autonomous fundamentals, such as anti-nationalism and running only by non corporate donations.
The kindergarten, that has been running every weekday morning since July this year, was set up to be entirely self organised by volunteers and by donations for resources.
The morning after we arrived some of the Biketour volunteered to lend a hand with the kindergarten. Trying to help the tutors, without being able to speaking any Serbian, or Roma, we encouraged the children, aged between 4 and 9 years old, to free play with lego, drawing or painting, encouraging them to focus on one activity at a time, to work together and to cooperate.
The next lesson was learning parts of the calendar – the names of the months, and numbers, each person intern adding a piece to the board. After some games and lively singing (with actions), we helped the children wash their hands before we ate lunch together, prepared at Inex from vegetables that had been donated by the nearby market. After lunch one of the Roma parents collected the children to walk them back to their community nearby.
It was clear from that short interaction of one morning, how much the children appreciated being shown attention and respect from such dedicated adults, who were clearly providing something very positive for their community.
Later we held an interview with one of the founders of the school, originally from Skopje, Macadonia, where he had spent many years with the Roma community there, learning to speak Romani, and was even donated one of their houses to live in.
The interview is currently being transcribed and will be available in the future in the form of a Biketour Zine or short video.
In the afternoon some of the Biketour attended a discussion and tour of a former Nazi concentration camp, Sajmiste, (1941–1944), for Jews, Sorbs and Romas.
There we saw two monuments from diffrent time periods depicting different acknowledg -ments of who was actually killed there, the Roma people for example, often not included in official statistics in concentration camps due to their lack of papers and auditing.
The building complex was originally built as an exhibition center to show case Belgrade and to improve its international role in trade and commerce. You could see from the number of mailboxes, that part of the building is now used as atelier space, despite its dark history.
That evening, still on the Roma theme, we held an info evening open to the public in the Inex Info Shop about the persecution of Roma families in Hungary, from the perspective of a Biketour participant originally born in Hungary, now living in the UK. The evening included this short film by The Guardian in 2012;
The discussion was followed by a film screening of Just the Wind (trailer below), a gritty dramatisation based on the true story of a Roma family targeted by Hungarian death squads:
The following evening we again held a public event this time in the Inex bar, that included a short talk about the Biketour and a screening of the film The Weight of Chains, a Canadian documentary that criticises neocolonialism and the role the US, NATO and the EU played in what the film describes as ”the tragic breakup of a once peaceful and prosperous European state – Yugoslavia.’
We had already screened this film once in Slovenia at the Art Centre, but this time we were not only seeing it with new eyes, from having cycled through many of the places mentioned in the film, but we also had a public audience and a special guest …one of the lead voices of the documentary John Bosnitch, now living in Beograd, who amazingly on our invitation came to the screening and gave his input during a the informal discussion that followed the screening.
So, a pretty impressive repertoire for self organisation! All in all our experience at Inex was truly thoughtful, welcoming and creative, aided by the generous and community minded people who lived there, whos energy was infectious, and who made delicious pancakes….THANK YOU Inex for your inspitation for Every Day Action!
|September 9, 2013||Posted by agnessiob under 2013|
In Novi Sad we met up with a film crew for the local Hungarian language TV, and here are the results! The first 7:30min relate to the Beyond Borders biketour:
For those that don’t speak Hungarian, in the clip we talk about the history of Ecotopia Biketour, this year´s beyond borders theme, how we organise and also our route. Novi Sad is in the Vojvodina region, where there are several minority languages including Hungarian. In the clip they also mention the sections of our biketour which pass through other regions with Hungarian speaking minorities, such as the last leg of our journey through Munţii Apuseni / Erdélyi-középhegység.
|September 7, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
The following day we followed the Danube all the way to Novi Sad just in time for the 3rd year anniversary event of CK13, a social centre for arts, culture and politics, run voluntarily by some of our local hosts with a cafe, workshop spaces an anarchist info shop, and a regular people’s kitchen. The evening’s theme was Veganism, Environmental Activism and Animal Rights. We watched a number of short films including Hrana za život (Food for Life) and Proždirući zemlju (Devour the Earth) and a speech by Phillip Wollen, subtitled in Serbian, on ‘Why animals should be off the menu’. The English version can be watched below:
After a pannel discussion, huddled round our personal translator, we enjoyed a deluxe vegan dinner – however the event was so well attended that some of us had to make do with an extra slice of vegan chocolate cake… what a shame!
Whilst in Novi Sad we were hosted by the Drustveni Center, Novi Sad’s only squatted squat social centre, right on the Danube.
The following day one of our hosts took us on an underground tour of Petrovaradin Fortress (from 1692) an ex-military fortress with defence tunnels spanning 16km underground in three levels. It was quite eerie to witness the hiding holds and complex passage systems made to confuse and trap attackers.
On the way to the fortress were accompanied by a dog, who at first we feared was trying to attack us, then we realised that it was trying to attack the cars, by trying to bite the wheels as they tried to pass our critical mass. Later it and another dog that also joined the caravan, sat patiently and guarded the bikes whilst we visited the tunnels for over 2 hours. We later named it the ‘anti-car dog’ or ‘critical mass dog’.
In the evening we held an open event and kitchen at the social centre, with a presentation of some of the interpretations of borders during our trip so far, and a discussion about the biketour with a local bike association.
(Image from the walls of the Drustveni Centre, on Concensus)
On Friday some of us were interviewed about the Ecotopia Biketour by a National TV company for the Hungarian Minority Channel.
It is currently in Hungarian but we are trying to get it subtitled.
Later that day we visited the Bike Kitchen at the Cultural Exchange and a recently established feminist library-come-cafe.
|September 6, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
Check out this beautiful video made during our kick off days in Berlin by the wonderful Claudia! …
Subtitles available in German / Untertitel jetzt auch auf Deutsch: Download here/hier!
(Video von vimeo runterladen und auf Computer speichern. Dasselbe mit der Untertitel-Datei. Video mit VLC-Player öffnen. Untertiteldatei auswählen. Abspielen!)
|September 4, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
At the Croatian border town of Llock, some of us interviewed a local Croatian woman, who passionately expressed her wish for peace on both sides.
We also spoke to a Serbian woman, who had previously lived in Vukovar, and now lives across the border on the Serbian side, but works and has a partner in Croatia, meaning that she crosses the border twice every day, and had to renew her passport yearly due to so many stamps before the recent introduction of ID cards. She explained in length the situation for Serbian people living in Croatia who find it very difficult to find work and ID papers there due to discrimination, but also her view of the events in Vukovar, which in her view were masking the real issues and racism that Serbs face today.
Once in Serbia we headed north to rejoin the Danube, and found this free camping spot, with a bar, just 40 km from the following day’s ride to Novi Sad. This is the view from the tent in the morning.
|September 3, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
We left the common pastures of Croatia and again skirted the border between Croatia and Bosnia, finally crossing for a lunch spot at the border control point. Here an Italian man stopped to wish us well on our journey, only to then return 10 minutes later with a huge watermelon and bottles of fizzy pop; it was a warm welcome back to Bosnia.
After the border crossing, the traces of the war became more and more apparent. Only too aware of the landmines that still contaminate the land, we were careful to find our camping spots either on recently made agricultural land or from specific advice from the locals, leading to some idyllic camps in back gardens and bee orchards, and awakening to the call to prayer.
We were headed for the Brcko District, right on the Croatia-Bosnia border, and close to Serbia; an interesting destination for our theme, it being an ‘independent unit of local self-government’, and supposedly ‘neutral’ from the two main political entities; the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the war the population was equally divided between the two parties and became an international experiment to declare the city ‘free’, despite being under the rule of the US and other foreign peacekeeping forces.
On nearing the city, by chance the scouts met a local cycling group, who ended up escorting us the final 10km to a free camping spot in the city, close to the Sava river and canoe club, who kindly also allowed us to use their facilities.
Whilst we were there we experienced immense generosity and kindness from local people, who brought us home made pastries, beer, chocolate, slivovica and even a bucket of hand-caught fish… happily eaten by some of the less vegan bikers (discreetly of course).
For me Brčko was one of the most interesting places to pass through. Despite not visiting a ‘project’ there, we spent a lot of time talking and meeting with local people, either at the market, or those who visited us each night to share songs and regional hand made delights.
|August 30, 2013||Posted by grenzblog under 2013, Borders|
“Brücken bauen” – nichts könnte eigentlich sinnbildlicher dafür stehen, Grenzen zu überwinden. Doch was uns auf unserer Reise immer wieder auffällt, ist die Funktion von Brücken als Grenzen. Besonders entlang der Sava wird uns klar, was das heißt: Ganze Städte, die früher mal eine Einheit waren und sich in einem Staat befanden, sind heute durch nur noch eine Brücke verbunden. Streng bewacht und abgezäunt natürlich – jeweils vor und hinter der Brücke befindet sich eine Grenzübergangs-Station am jeweiligen Ufer. Brücken sind hier nicht das symbolisch verbindende Element, das sie andernorts sind. Sie sind das Nadelöhr, das alle Menschen- und Fahrzeugmassen durch die Kontrollen schleust. Sie sind die vernachlässigsten Bauwerke der ganzen Grenzarchitektur, weil sie im Niemandsland zwischen den Staaten liegen: Verrostet, brüchiger Asfalt. Sie sind manchmal stumme Zeugen des Krieges, der sie ganz zerstörte: Heute steht hier ihre Nachfolgerin; wiederaufgebaut von der EU. Am komischsten ist oft der Blick von der Mitte der Brücke aufs Wasser. Treibgut, Fische, Wasservögel oder die Angelschnüre der Fischer: All das bewegt sich frei zwischen den Ufern hin und her. Nur die Menschen, die müssen die Kontrollprozeduren über sich ergehen lassen.
Dort, wo die Brücken nicht einfach so im Land stehen, sondern wo sie die geteilten Städte Europas (von denen so viele behaupten, nach dem Fall der Mauer in Berlin gäbe es nur noch eine, nämlich Nikosia) “verbinden”, sind wir auf unseren Rädern nicht allein: Neben den Autos und zu Fuß gehenden Grenzgänger_innen reihen wir uns immer öfter auch in kleine Gruppen von lokalen Ralder_innen bei der Passkontrolle ein.
Später in Novi Sad und Belgrad werden wir noch eine weitere Brücken-Geschichte erleben: Wir sehen die Ruinen oder Wiederaufbau-Prozedere von Donaubrücken, die von der NATO 1998 bombardiert wurden. Ein Akt, der für die Bevölkerung dieser Groß- bzw. Millionenstädte große Beeinträchtigungen bis heute mit sich bringt – also künstliche Grenzen mitten in ihre Stadt riss.
|August 30, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
Through a contact at Green Action Zagreb, our next destination was to meet activist fighting for the right to common pastures in Croatia. We made camp in their common field, and took a wash in the Sava – some of us even swimming across to Bosnia on the other side! The next morning we met some of the people who volunteer to keep the pastures alive and free for all.
Gajna, an NGO and voluntary organisation founded in 2007, have been working to reserve the habitat of the land and keep it in use and free from industrial agriculture and overgrowing indigenous crops that would render the land unusable and inhabitable for many species.
This is achieved through encouraging common grazing pastures, policy pressure along with local education and awareness. There they share the land with several neighboring keepers of local breeds, and have a herd strong enough to withstand the cold winters out on the pastures, but not economical enough to compete with the industrialized commercial herds, meaning that local awareness and much voluntary hard work is key to stop the land being taken back by the municipality.
The Diggers Song
To St George’s Hill
A ragged band they called the Diggers
Came to show the people’ s will
They defied the landlords
They defied the laws
They were the dispossessed
Reclaiming what was theirs
We come in peace, they said
To dig and sow
We come to work the land in common
And to make the waste land grow
This earth divided
We will make whole
So it can be
A common treasury for all.
The sin of property
We do disdain
No one has any right to buy and sell
The earth for private gain
By theft and murder
They took the land
Now everywhere the walls
Rise up at their command.
They make the laws
To chain us well
The clergy dazzle us with heaven
Or they damn us into hell
We will not worship
The God they serve
The God of greed who feeds the rich
While poor men starve
We work, we eat together
We need no swords
We will not bow to masters
Or pay rent to the lords
We are free men
Though we are poor
You Diggers all stand up for glory
Stand up now
From the men of property
The orders came
They sent the hired men and troopers
To wipe out the Diggers’ claim
Tear down their cottages
Destroy their corn
They were dispersed -
Only the vision lingers on
You poor take courage
You rich take care
The earth was made a common treasury
For everyone to share
All things in common
All people one
We come in peace
The order came to cut them down
|August 29, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
After wild camping near to the the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park, we set off next morning, despite the rain, for our 70 km cycling day along the Sava river. En route a few of us took the opportunity to visit a local social anthropology/ ethnographic museum in someone’s back garden. Without any common language we were able to communicate through hands-on demonstrations of some of the tools and equipment from the owner’s lifetime. The museum contained hundreds of examples of D.I.Y handmade crafts and tools used for creating cloth from plants, furniture without fixings, embroidery and fabrics from 4 generations of the owner, as well as tools used for making wine, milk, grain and flour, and even a wooden door lock that was 200 years old!
Later in the day some took the opportunity to visit a monument, in the form of a huge stone flower, for the victims of Jasenovac extermination camp during WW2. In the cloud-filled sky it was an atmospheric and sobering experience witnessing the existing mounds where buildings once existed, and the train used to bring persecuted ethnic Serbs, Jews and Roma people to their death.
At the border crossing into Bosnia, a few of us stopped to interview a Serbian man who was living in Bosnia and working in Croatia, who told us more about the concentration camp and his experience of living and working across the border.
Just after the border this sign amused us…
|August 28, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
.In Zagreb we were warmly hosted at Green Action, Zelena Akcija / Friends of the Earth Croatia, who welcomed us with a party with some of the local activists dealing with local migration and environmental struggles. Over the few days there we held an info exchange with local migration activists, visited two of the nearby politically active squats/ free shop, and made full use of the in-house DIY bike kitchen at Green Action.
There some of us also took to the streets, to ask some of the locals or people who would talk to us, their view of Borders, the EU, immigration, migration, nationalism and the local political context for them. We plan to edit these short video interviews at some point in the future as a resource…to be continued!
|August 26, 2013||Posted by syl under 2013|
I am leaving the bike tour today to travel on my own for two weeks. It has been an interesting journey, there were amazing memories such as dancing to a band called Bi Patriot? in a slovenian town near the Austrian border, playing bumper cars without electricity, many Radlers, interesting workshops and more.
Anyway, I am uploading a screenshot of my facebook photos, the majority of them are from Slovenia, with the town of Maribor up the top, following the river from Maribor, and crossing the mountain pass into Austria and the view looking towards the Alps into Austria.
|August 24, 2013||Posted by grenzblog under 2013, Borders|
Da haben wir sie: Unsere eigene erste einschneidende (Staats-)Grenz-Erfahrung auf der Tour! Nicht, dass es in groesseren Gruppen nicht zu erwarten waere, dass irgendwer irgendwie geartete “falsche” Papiere dabei hat und beim Grenzuebertritt Probleme hat. Was nur verwunderte, war die Art des heute aufgetretenen Problems: Es handelte sich naemlich nicht um vergessene, verlorene oder nur noch wenige Tage gueltige Papiere auf der Seite unserer Teilnehmenden, sondern um einen unglaublichen materiellen Missstand am Grenzuebergang: Dort fehlten doch tatsaechlich die richtigen Stempel!!!
Die Geschichte geht so: Am kleinen Grenzuebergang zwischen Slowenien und Kroatien in Dobova/Harmica ueberqueren diejenigen von uns, die EU-Dokumente haben, problemlos die Kontrollen der Aus- und Einreise. Denjenigen von uns mit einem australischen und einem US-amerikanischen Pass, wird die Weiterreise verweigert. Es handle sich um einen lokalen Grenzuebergang, der dem Grenzverkehr der lokalen Bevoelkerung diene – wohl dem Umstand geschuldet, dass hier mitten durch vorher zusammenhaengendes jugoslawisches Siedlungs-Gebiet ploetzlich eine Grenze gezogen wurde, sich das Leben der Menschen aber nach wie vor hueben und drueben abspielte. Da man auf Grund fehlender Stempel fuer ihre Einreise als nicht-gleichberechtigte Nicht-EU-Staatsangehoerige ihre Sache nicht bearbeiten koenne, wurden unsere zwei Aufgehaltenen angewiesen, doch bitte den “internationalen Grenzuebergang” zu benutzen. Dies muss man sich einmal woertlich auf der Zunge zergehen lassen: Ist denn ein Grenzuebergang zwischen zwei Staaten nicht per definitionem ein “inter-nationaler”? Und hat es in den 22 Jahren der Existenz dieses Uebergangs wohl keinmal einen Anlassfall gegeben, dass Nicht-EU-Buergerinnen ihn ueberqueren wollten, so dass die Notwendigkeit eines Stempels an die Zentralstelle gemeldet und beseitigt werden konnte? Willkommen mitten in Europa. Und wenn “Westler_innen” solche Schikanen erleben, brauchen wir wohl nicht weiter fragen, wie es noch weniger privilegierten Menschen an dieser Stelle geht.
Die Loesung sah dann heute so aus: Unsere zwei Gruppenmitglieder mussten zum naechsten Bahnhof fahren, und in einen internationalen Zug nach Zagreb steigen – was wohl gemerkt Geld kostet und mit Fahrrad manchmal unmoeglich ist! Die Beamt_innen der mobilen Grenzkontrolle im Zug waren dann gut genug ausgeruestet, um die notwendigen Stempel geben zu koennen. Glimpflich gelaufen – und trotzdem aergerlich. Es bestaetigt sich uns nun am eigenen Leibe, wie Grenzen und ihre Infrastrukturen willkuerliche Unterschiede zwischen Menschen machen, nur weil auf der ersten Seite eines kleinen Papierheftes in ihrer Tasche andere Worte stehen.
|August 21, 2013||Posted by BTcoord2013 under 2013|
|August 17, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
|August 17, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
|August 16, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
In Maribor we slept at the Pekarna Squat, a huge complex of bars, music rooms and an anarchist book shop.
The centre wishes to promote sustainability, autonomy and active citizenship. One example was empowering people to do something about the issues that mattered to them. For example by painting a pedestrian crossing where one was needed and was taking too long to be actioned by the usual bureaucracy. This direct action, shortly led to an official pedestrian crossing as desired.
|August 14, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
|August 13, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
Art Centre Slovenia, a former Border Guard House, was another gem in our trip so far…nestled somewhere between the hills and fruit trees in a secluded part on the border of west Slovenia. We spent three glorious days here helping on the project, learning about the local struggle to keep the project from the eager grips of the municipalities, sampled the local produce from pumpkin seed oil to home grown vegetables from the centre and of course the local ale around the fire. We also had time for some of our own workshops:
Most of the help needed was preparing and restocking the wood shed for the coming winter, where we performed any lively human chains. There was also help needed preparing the second phase of the straw bale house, that will host artists in residence.
In the evenings we shared songs around the fire and a presentation from the centre who sucessfully avoided eviction in 2006 with a huge legal battle about ownership rights and accusations of being too contemporary for Slovenia!
The ‘Village Green’: the place where you can sign up top daily tasks and find out what you need to know…
Some rest after shifting a years supply of fire wood…
Here is a write up with beautiful photo displays from the centre about our visit on their mini blog:
|August 12, 2013||Posted by gemma under 2013|
Nice arrival in the Art Center Slovenia, where today some people helped with a human chain carrying wood for the winter, and preparing the wood shed and straw house, with nice songs and original dancing! aiwo! aiwo!
|August 11, 2013||Posted by grenzblog under 2013, Borders|
Dritte-Welt-Laender: “Wo liegen die noch einmal?” Ohne die genauen Zahlen zu kennen, koennen wir wohl davon ausgehen, dass in Europa ca. 90% der Menschen auf diese Frage mit “In Afrika” antworten werden.
Dabei ist einer der Urspruenge des Terminus “Dritte Welt” nicht geografisch gewesen, sondern politisch. Und an welchem Tag waere diese kleine, aber wichtige Geschichte besser zu bloggen, als heute, wo wir innerhalb von 24 Stunden sowohl auf den Boden der ersten, der zweiten und der dritten Welt betreten haben – und das sogar per Fahrrad!
Denn als “Erste Welt” bezeichneten sich im kalten Krieg die (westlich-)kapitalistischen Staaten, waehrend sie sich die (oestlich-)kommunistischen Staaten als “Zweite Welt” gegenueber stellten. Die “Dritte Welt” war jener Zusammenschluss “Blockfreier Staaten”, dessen Staerke lange vergessen ist. Dritte Welt hat heute die Konnotationen arm und machtlos.
In Europa war Jugoslawien unter Tito (zusammen mit z.B. Nasser in Aegypten) eine der treibenden Kraefte hinter der Blockfreien-Bewegung. Von Oesterreich (ehemaliger kapitalistischer “Westen”) ueber Ungarn (ehemals kommunistischer “Osten”) nach Slowenien (Teil des blockfreien Jugoslawien) geradelt, heisst fuer uns heute: Willkommen in der Dritten Welt – oder auf einem Territorium, das frueher einmal so bezeichnet wurde, als der Begriff entstanden ist.
|August 9, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
|August 8, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
After two days of cycling through the highest temperatures on record in Austria (41 degrees celsius!) we reached Die Mühle, a relatively new community project and seminar house for political events and projects. Here we performed a human chain and put our people power into practice to shift tonnes of bricks and rubble from the ruins of the adjoining building, and enjoyed the house facilities for our workshops on consensus, small group work and Biketour 2014!
Pictures to follow!!!!
|August 7, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
In Vienna we were spolit for choice of contacts and collectivers to meet and network with, including visits to the Vienna Bike Kitchen, and meetings at the Café Gagarin, a collectively run and owned vegan-vegatarian restaurant, and space for, culture, music and politics. We were hosted there for two days and took full advantage of their newly co-funded professional kitchen. – Compared to cooking on rocket stoves and a head tourch…it was sheer luxury!
On tuesday we met with some of the orgainisers of the Vienna Refugee Protest Camp, who protest weekly outside the Pakistani Embassy and monastery where many seek refuge. In the after noon some of us attended the demonstration against the recent deportation of 12 refugees, who were wrongly accused of trafficking, whilst others spent some time looking over their bicycles, that were in need of some attention by now!
In the evening we held a public voku at the Gagarin, which provided a opportunity for networking with the many relevant colletives in Vienna, who we could not possibly have had time to meet otherwise during our short stay.
We also held several workshops st the Gagarin, including one on Internet Security, Biketour 2014, Action Samba, and Gender Roles on the Biketour and Beyond!:
Here are some more pictures from Tuesdays demonstration. You can read more about the asylum procedures in Austria from the Refugee Camp Vienna blogspot.
|August 4, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
Tonight we will be hosted by the PIZZA Muhlfeldgasse 12 from 6pm, for their regular sunday skipped pizza and info eveing, where much of the ingredients come from food that would have otherwise been wasted.
We hope to share some of our stories and learn from their collective over dinner!
Hope to see some of you there.
|August 3, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
A few images from an evening at Garten der Gernerationen, an emerging community project experimenting with anti-capitalist ideals, self-organisation and self-sufficiency. After an introduction from one of the founders, who also founded a successful community not far from here, we eagerly offered help with their straw bale house construction …
…and we enjoyed a walk through their emerging community garden before dinner.
|August 2, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
Some how I did not take any photographs of this magical place… but there are many by others and they are BEAUTIFUL!
The journey to Mottinger Amt (a.k.a.) MoA in Waldviertel was a mixture of picturesque rolling hills and cycle paths past corn fields, idyllic looking villages and the sun setting on the Czech mountains behind us. It then became much cooler and eerier during dusk as we entered the 10km long military zone, only passable after 4pm each evening when target practice was over. There was reason to feel the comfort in not crossing this barren strip alone, at night, as some discovered later. One mammoth hill later, greeted at the top by some sympathetic scouts who had left sugary treats next to the now closed gas station, I think we all felt very relieved when we finally arrived in the darkness, guided by torch light from the open fire that awaited us. It was a much appreciated welcome, along with the delicious meal prepared as a surprise by our hosts, their neighbours and two biketour people who re-joined us again via train from Prague. As though the arrival could not get any better, our hosts guided us to the choice of sleeping places in barns and garden… and I sunk down happily in the top barn, with the stars shining through the opening in the unfinished windows, and the first mattress of the tour.
The following days at the farm were filled with rest, and work on one of the barns that was being erected as a stage/ storage area. In the afternoon some of us visited the neighbour’s permaculture garden, where we learnt about the many tasty and nutritious surprises that we pass on a daily basis, including grasses that taste like mushroom, and how to ward off snails from your vegetables.
We also enjoyed a swim in a small lake at the bottom of her garden, and sampled home made cordials, then cycled back to the farm following a path between the poppy and hemp fields…
That evening it was the birthday of someone from the biketour and one of the hosts. The food team took full advantage of an oven and baked three incredible vegan cakes, decorated with foraged fruits and edible flowers… pictures and recipes to follow!
|July 31, 2013||Posted by grenzblog under 2013, Borders|
So wie auch schon beim Ueberqueren der deutsch-tschechischen und der tschechisch-oesterreichischen Grenze haben wir uns auch heute wieder eine neue SIM-Karte fuer unser Tour-Mobiltelefon gekauft. Denn leider gibt es ja noch keine globalen oder EUropaeischen Mobilfunknetzwerke, die nicht an Grenzen die Preise schlagartig erhoehen wuerden und fuer die es ueberall Auflade-Nachschub gaebe. So muessen wir eben neue Karten von Land zu Land kaufen, um unsere Gebuehren wenigstens fuer Inlandsgespraeche klein zu halten und um ueberhaupt an Auflade-Bons zu kommen.
Soweit, so “normal”: Heutzutage haben Staaten/Laender/Nationen eben nicht mehr nur ihre Flaggen, Hymnen und andere abstrakte Symbole, um Identifikation mit ihnen zu staerken, sondern aben auch laenderspezifische Toplevel-Domains (.de, .cz, .at., si…) oder eben klassische Landesvorwahlen (0049, 0042, 0043, 00386).
Und genau hier haben wir heute eine doppelte Grenze ueberschritten! Der Wechsel von 0043-Land zu 00386-Land ist naemlich nicht nur einer zwischen zwei unterschiedlichen Vorwahlen und Tarifgebieten, sondern einer von einem Land mit zweistelliger (ohne Nullen), zu einem mit dreistelliger Vorwahl! Und das sagt – so schlicht und unscheinbar es auch ist – eine Menge ueber die Nationalstaatsgrenzen der Region aus – und ihr Alter! Denn die Erklaerung hinter den drei Stellen ist: Jugoslawien hatte die Vorwahl 0038. Nach dessen Zerfall konnten den (mittlerweile) 7 neuen Staaten nicht einfach “irgendwelche” bzw. ins europaeische Zahlenschema passende Vorwahlen zugeteilt werden – denn diese waren schon vergeben oder es waere technisch/voelkerrechtlich zu aufwaendig gewesen. Insofern bekam jeder neue exjugoslawische Staat einfach eine dritte Zahl (vielleicht sogar die damalige interne Regionalvorwahl?) hinter seine 0038. Und schon war aus einem alten, unter den Nationalist_innen wohl verhassten Symbol der panjugoslawischen Gemeinsamkeit ein neues Symbol kleinstaatlich-vereinigender Unabhaengigkeit geworden. Und auf der digitalen Ebene eine weitere Grenze gezogen – zusaetzlich zu den physischen, die (mit und ohne Blutvergiessen) in den 1990er Jahren neu durch die freie Landschaft gezogen und auf Karten gedruckt wurden.
Aehnliche Geschichten lassen sich uebrigens ueber laenderspezifische Internet-Topleveldomains in der Region hier erzaehlen: .yu gibt es z.B. noch! Wer dies verwendet, spricht damit eine bestimmte Botschaft aus! Ein Vergleich mit Bestrebungen im Basekanland und Katalonien ist hier uebrigens hochinteressant! Aber darueber vielleicht spaeter mehr. Denn wir sind ja erst in Slowenien angekommen – was aber kein Grund sein sollte, sich nicht schon hier mit (ex)-jugoslawischen Geschichtsfragen zu beschaeftigen.
*photographs from the Czech – Autria border crossing*
|July 28, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
On entering Prague we were joined by someone from the local Critical Mass network, who after a quick rehearsal in how to create a critical mass, decided that the 50 strong cyclists were enough to take on the highway into the capital city of Czech Republic!
This was our first self made Critical Mass so far and for some their first, with 3 people setting the pace at the front … S L OOOOO W L Y!… then 10 blockers who smiled sweetly as they blocked off the side roads to let the mass of cyclists through as though we were one long bus; then of course the tail, who took up the rear and the flew the Ecotopia flag. Others also handed out our flyers to anyone interested, and the mass chanted No Nation slogans and attempted to recreate Rhythms of Resistance tunes from their bicycle bells. It was a noisy, lively success with many smiles and support from pedestrians and some car drivers, as our local host led us through the city to one of the Reclaim the Streets Happenings that were taking place that weekend all over Prague. Today was the opening party in what is usually a parking lot next to the highway, organised in part by another local host from Automat. We didnt stay long as we still had to find our sleeping place and cook, so we headed off again in search of Cibulka squat, recommended to us by many contacts in Prague.
Unfortunately when we arrived there had been a misscommunication amoungst the residents, who had also booked another large group in that weekend. We ended up sleeping the night, slightly restlessly, before leaving early to a central park to make a plan B. Due to the size of the group, and manyleads resulting only in dead ends or only being able to host a maximum of 20 or so (our group now consisting of around 35 people), we ended up settling on a recommended wild camping spot 4km along the river, near to one of the projects we would visit the next day. This uncertainty however, and exhaustion beginning to show in those who had hoped Prague would be a time to relax a bit and stay in the same place for a few nights, led some members of the group to stay in a nearby hostel for a few nights. Others felt solitude and reconcilliation in wild camping again, a bit out of the hectic city, where we could remain more of a community and keep track of each other more easily.
The following day we visited a local bike project, Bajkazyl, right on the river, and held a long circle including how to improve our processes as a group, including scheduling, teams on the rota and a first aid workshop.
It was our first city experience after Berlin… often the most difficult aspects of the Biketour, as you can clearly see the change and dynamics of the group, whose needs seem to suddenly become much further apart. Here was the first lesson in flexibilty, capacity and resilience of large groups.
|July 26, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
On leaving Usti we made it along the Elbe to a secluded Wagenplatz through a contact we had made in Prague. Here they were preparing for a festival of local community projects, which we unfortunately could not attend but, after supper, which was prepared there for us, we shared some films on their open air cinema. More is written about this and the films in a later post…
|July 24, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
In Usti we were invited to join a group of activists, NE RASISMU!, from Usti and Prague that are concentrating on Roma racism, anti-ciganism, and antifascism, to learn about the situation tere from the people directly involoved.
We met the group at one of the biggest ‘ghettos’ in Czech Republic; Predlice in the city of Usti nad Labem. Due to privatization of housing, systematic discrimination and also generally very bad living conditions of Roma people there, the actual situation can be seen as the beginning of humanitarian crisis.
The group met us with instruments, circus props and footballs, in preparation for the day’s action that we were invited to join, a children’s play day at one of the popular ‘playgrounds’. The play ground was littered with rubbish and few facillities, apart from the clear CCTV cameras pointing into the park.
The children, who ranged from 6 to 16 listened and played attentively as we tried to teach variations of rounders and baseball. They were clearly grateful that we had decided to spend the day with them, however tokenistic it might have felt at the time for some.
|July 23, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
Next day was our first border crossing from Germany to the Czech Republic… marked unassumingly by a small EU sign. But once we had crossed, the visual signs became more clear, and the landscape more wild. Actually the first thing that marked the crossing was a small reminder from our mobile phone providers, followed by Vietnamese tourist shops selling knickknacks from baseball caps to huge plastic Bambis.
The route that afternoon was incredible, despite an accident with one of the ambitious trailer pullers who decided to follow the more off-road route option through the National Park.
Our final destination was welcoming and homely, in the garden of someone familiar with the biketour, surrounded by canyon mountains next to a very cold but inviting river.
|July 23, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
On our route from Proschim we were made more aware of the extent of the open cast mines in the outskirts and surrounding areas that left huge blue lakes in place where farm land and village life once thrived. We did, I must admit take advantage of one of these lakes at lunchtime, only to be warned by one of the locals of the acidic content, and recommendation to swim elsewhere.
The ride was hot, long, but as ever scenic as the scouts led us through small roads and cycle paths. A few punctures and tick inspections later we arrived into Bautzen to meet our invited local, a Sorbian Poet, who told us about the history and context of the Sorbian German minority, and a reading of one of his own poems, a medium to keep the minority language alive.
(sound recording to follow)
By the time everyone had caught up with the group, it was clear that we would not cross the border that evening, so we made an emergency plan to wild camp nearby on the German side. This was our first wild camping experience, and clearly made some people more nervous after having expereince of German police law and enforcement, but we were not dissuaded as it was late, and we left early before breakfast, and after an undisturbed night’s sleep in a scenic field surrounded by trees and the moonlight. As one of the scouts I still have a vivid image of the 40 headlights comming up the road to the spot that we found… our first midnight critical mass!
|July 23, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
Many people said that although it was their hardest day’s cycling through the mountains, up up up up … the free wheeling down again made it all worth it, and was for many their best day’s cycling. The next day was mainly down hill all the way to the Elbe river, that we followed al the way into Usti Nad Labem.
On the way one group visited Terezin, a former military forttress where Jews of high status were kept for information during the second world war.
Along the Elbe there was still evidence from the recent floodings, and tide marks and debris along the bank. During our lunch spot in Decin, someone from the group held a bike safety check workshop whilst others prepared lunch.
We finally entered Usti nad Labem and were led to our wild camp spot on the top of the hill that overlooked one of the most deprived areas of Usti, and where we would be meeting some of the local activisits and residents the next day. We were surprised to find at the top of the hill, and quite a hill, a small lake, the sun setting and a bar! The owners were really friendly once we explained what we were doing and offered us full use of their toilets, and provided us with water. On the last night they even joined us for an amazing polenta-based dinner cooked on our rocket stoves.
|July 23, 2013||Posted by mandolinquent under 2013|
‘Red next to yellow, kill a fellow. Yellow next to black, venom lack.’ This little serpent is black all over, with no yellow or red. And she quickly slithers past us to a quieter spot. Still I’ve never seen our group of sweaty cyclists so hesitant to plunge into the cool inviting water of a lake at lunchtime! It’s 2 o’clock and outside of the shade of these trees the sun is far too oppressive to do anything, let alone continue the 50 kilometres of mountain cycling ahead.
Since crossing the border from Germany to the Czech Republic the cycle paths have changed. The flat well-marked routes have given way to steep gravel paths which wear away my brake pads within a matter of hours. Like many of us I am reduced to pushing my little bicycle downhill as well as uphill. A wise decision judging by the bruises and bandages on less fortunate limbs by nightfall.
The scenery is breath taking. ‘I could quite happily spend a week cycling the route we’ve taken today,’ muses Zack as we pass towering rocks which jut out impressively over the path way above our heads. There is a small doorway leading into the rock. A hobbit house? No, it’s a toolshed!
As we finally leave the forest at sunset, we pass a palatial building with wooden cabins in it’s grounds, occasional broken panes in the windows and a solitary Ford Fiesta at the end of the driveway. The grand, steep roofed houses which populate the Sudatenland region are a sharp contrast to the empty industrial units which lined the way here. Crumbling reminders of Soviet times are replaced with buildings which tell a different story.
‘After the War, the Germans and German-speaking Czechs were expelled from the Sudetenland.’ Explains our host over an ice-cold Kofola – a well-loved Communist counterpart to Coca-cola. ‘Houses and land were left to ruin.’ The project we are visiting is testimony to this fact. The cherry and plum trees are overgrown and bear sour fruits. But they are still good for conserves. We are indulged in several generously sized jars of homemade jam on our departure.
As darkness takes over, we are treated to a spontaneous one night film festival. First a documentary about Wagonplatz culture, introduced by the film-maker (and biketour participant) Matteus. It is well-timed given the location – the cherry orchard has a kitchen and communal living structures, but residents sleep each in their own ‘Wagon’ – a truck, trailer or caravan. We gain a valuable insight into a way of life often slurred by mainstream media but which offers a a very particular freedom – a relationship with nature and community less imposing than bricks and mortar. A mobile community not so dissimilar to our own…
Our next film is yet more challenging in its subject matter. As some exhausted cyclists drift towards their tents, we are treated to a viewing of a documentary on ‘Fuck For Forest’ – a participatory pornography collective with an ecological focus. The Berlin- based group invite individuals to share their bodies with each other and with paying online audiences. All donations go directly to radical ecological grassroots groups in the ‘developing’ world. At first, enthralled by the colourful characters involved in the project, we are invited to question the logic behind the group as they travel to South America to share the five hundred thousand euros they have raised with indigenous communities threatened by deforestation. They meet a mixed reception…
The final film begins – Isabella Rossellini’s ‘Green Porno’: an exploration of sexuality and gender in the animal kingdom. But with a long journey ahead there are few Ecotopians left standing. As I head for bed I can see a handful lying in their tents on the other side of the projector screen straining to read the subtitles backwards.
Bellies are full from the sumptuous meal improvised by the people living here. But there is an occasional grumble in my own as I fall asleep. One too many sour plums!
|July 21, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
|July 21, 2013||Posted by grenzblog under 2013|
Nicht nur sprichwoertlich kann die Landesgrenze von Brandenburg und Sachsen als “Kohlegrenze” gesehen werden, weil das eine Bundesland als reicher gilt, als das andere.
Nein, an der “Linealgrenze” aus dem Atlas koennte eine scharfe Klippenwand die Grenze der Braunkohletagebau-Krater markieren, wenn denn wenigestens eines der beiden Bundeslaender gegen die Foerderung waere – was durchaus in ihrer Kompetenz laege. Jedoch erlaesst weder Sachsen, noch Brandenburg einen Stopp gegen den weitraeumigen Abbau der Klimakiller-Substanz, sodass die Landesgrenze wohl auch in Zukunft genausowenig physisch sichtbar sein wird, wie sie es sein koennte, wenn eines der beiden Laender ein Zeichen setzen wuerde. Stattdessen wird diese Grenze wohl fuer einige Zeit im Staub und dann unter Wasser verlaufen, wenn auch der X-te leblose, braunbruehige Gift-”See” mit Wasser geflutet sein wird.
|July 21, 2013||Posted by grenzblog under 2013, Borders|
Wer sich mit globalen Fragen, Entwicklungsökonomie oder den Nord-Süd-Beziehungen beschäftigt, kennt diese zwei Aussagen seit Langem: Reichtum und Macht einiger weniger transnationaler Konzerne gehen weit über Reichtum und Macht vieler Staaten dieser Welt hinaus. Und: Vielerorts sind jene transnationalen Konzerne die Instanz, die de facto anstelle eines Staates Macht ausübt (Neo-Kolonialismus, Landgrabbing, Wasserprivatisierung, etc.).
Wie der Einleitungssatz schon suggeriert: Bei diesem Phänomen denken wir gerne zuerst an einkommensschwache Gesellschaften im globalen Süden.
Dass das Phänomen keine Grenzen kennt, zeigt sich uns heute bei unserer Fahrt von Proschim aus weiter Richtung Süden: Die vom Energiekonzern schon gekauften und in Beschlag genommenen Flächen für die zukünftige Vermondlandschaftung sind ein reines “Vattenfall-Country”, aus dem sich der Staat zurück gezogen zu haben scheint:
- Vormals staatlich betriebene Straßen sind auf einmal als Werkstraßen (also Eigentum des Konzerns) beschildert – Benutzung auf eigene Gefahr. Auf eigene Gefahr? Welche Alternative zum gewohnten Weg von A nach B soll es denn geben, wenn hier immer nur eine (öffentliche, staatliche) Landstraße verlief? An der Qualität des Belags wird die Privatisierung und das Desinteresse des Konzerns an einer Instandhaltung sichtbar. Wozu auch: Hier wird ja bald alles vom Erdboden verschwunden sein. Insbesondere die Oberfläche des Radwegs zeugt von dieser Vernachlässigung alldessen, was nicht unmittelbar profitbringendes Konzerninteresse ist.
- Selbiges gilt für die Gebäude auf dem Gebiet – ganze schon entvölkerte ”Wüstendörfer” verfallen hier.
- Eigens angestellte Sicherheitsfirmen bewachen das Gebiet. Das staatliche Gewaltmonopol der Polizei ist hier aufgeweicherter als sonst schon anderswo.
- Überall prangt das Vattenfall-Logo. Besonders eindringlich wirkt dies auf jedem einzelnen Wagon eines vorbeifahrenden Güterzuges.
- In den Randgebieten des zukünftigen Tagebau-Lochs ist alles um so hübscher: Neue Gehwege, Blumenbeete auf den Hauptplätzen der Dörfer, rausgeputzte Kinderspielplätze, “Kunstwerke”, die allesamt mit Braunkohletagebau-Maschinerie zu tun haben. Und auf dem ein oder anderen Artefakt prankt ein Logo des Konzerns, der hier in den Randgebieten die alte Masche abzieht, mit kleinen, sichtbaren Aufhübschungen im Ortsbild die Bevölkerung auf seine Seite zu ziehen.
|July 21, 2013||Posted by grenzblog under 2013, Borders|
Entlang unserer heutigen Route durch “Vattenfall-Country” fallen immer wieder die Schilder rechts und links am Straßenrand auf: “Achtung – Lebensgefahr!”. Die Schilder sind mit einem Piktogramm ausgestattet, dass in einer “HALT!”-Pose eine Hand entgegen streckt und den Mund warnend-schreiend aufreißt. Hier zieht sich also links und rechts der Straße eine Grenze entlang: Eine Sicherheits-Grenze, die (anscheinend) absolut lebensgefährliches (Bergbau-)Territorium von einem sicheren Boden, nämlich der Durchgangsstraße, trennt. Die Grenze besteht nur symbolisch aus ein paar kleinen Schildern, die sich alle paar hundert Meter wiederholen. Kein Zaun, keine Mauer, kein wirklicher Schutz vor dem Unheil. Später auf unserer Reise, in Kroatien und Bosnien-Herzigowina werden wir sogar durch Minengebiete fahren, die – wenn überhaupt! – nur mit Schildern “gesichert” sind.
Wenn wir nun (so mache – heutige oder frühere) Staatsgrenzen damit vergleichen, zeigt sich uns folgende Paradoxie:
- Was anscheinend wirklich für Leib und Leben gefährlich zu sein scheint, wird nicht durch eine physische Grenze geschützt: Hier darf der Mensch selbst entscheiden, ob er sich der Gefahr aussetzen will oder nicht.
- Mit dem Lineal gezogen Nationalstaatsgrenzen bzw. die Territorien davor und dahinter, die an und für sich selbst nichts Gefährliches an sich haben, werden hingegen bis an die Zähne bewaffnet verbarrikadiert und “vor Eindringlingen geschützt”.
Fazit: Es scheint also legitimer zu sein, Menschen selbstbestimmt in einstürzende Gruben fallen oder explodierende Minen laufen zu lassen, als dass sich Menschen frei über die imaginären Grenzen der 193 Nationalstaaten dieses Planeten bewegen könnten, bei deren Übertreten grundsätzlich keine “natürliche” physische Gefahr für Leib und Leben besteht. Was übrigens tausende Vögel, Fische, Insekten und sogar größere Tiere jeden Tag beweisen.
|July 21, 2013||Posted by grenzblog under 2013|
Im Denken moderner Mehrheitsgesellschaften gilt seit 150 Jahren die scheinbar unanfechtbare Gleichung: Volk = Nation = (Sprache) = Staat = Grenze(n).
Als wir heute mehr ueber das Volk der Sorben erfahren haben, bekamen wir eines der Beispiele dafuer zu hoeren, dass diese Gleichung nichts Gegebenes ist und die vier Faktoren unabhaengig voneinander exisitieren: Diejenigen Sorben, die sich als solches definieren, fuehlen sich einem Volk (dem Sorbischen) zugehoerig, sprechen eine damit verbundene Sprache (Sorbisch), leben in keinem sorbischen, sondern im deutschen Staat und haben um das Territorium ihres Volkes und ihrer Sprache keine Staats-Grenze.
|July 21, 2013||Posted by kate under 2013|
|July 21, 2013||Posted by mandolinquent under 2013|
So my Uncle used to say. I’m not so sure of the science behind that, but this dinosaur is very much alive! Its arms flail around scaring small children under the guidance of cyclists and campers until it reaches the centre of the village. It’s stomache opens up and regurgitates a hosts of black biodegradable balloons with messages tied to them praying for the village to be spared. They drift off into the distance as local Sorbian counter-polka animates us into dancing the traditional Sorbian circle dances we have just been taught. It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon, and we are making the best of the weather to demonstrate against the plans to turn the area into a lignite mining hotspot.
It has been a busy morning of preparations, meeting another biketour leaving for the North to explore issues around energy and giving a presentation of the Zone A Defendre – a struggle in France against an airport. Locals have successfully stopped the airport from being built for the moment at least by occupying the 5000 hectars of land due to be turned into concrete following a Climate Camp four years ago. We watch two films about the struggle, which has met with police confrontations, battles and barricades in which some biketour members, past and present have participated. ‘Zines’ are passed around explaining the history and personal stories of those who have been involved in the campaign, with locals expressing their solidarity with a fight not so different from their own. A fight to simply live their lives on the land left to them by their forbears.
Flyers float around the camp advertising another occupation in Mannheim planned in the near future – an area where 40,000 residents face losing their homes to Lignite mining. It’s amazing to see the dots joined together between these disparate yet connected struggles. Dinner has just been announced, and it’s time to grab a plate before the Reclaim Power biketour give a presentation of their tour which will pass by various political hotspots of the summer – the War Starts Here camp against an urban warfare training unit in Wendland, an anti-nuclear camp in Munster, and the European Reclaim the Fields camp in Mannheim. I’m not missing that! Now where’s my spoon?
|July 21, 2013||Posted by biketour under 2013|
(PICTURES TO FOLLOW – INTERNET TOO SLOW!!)
After 70 kilometres, we arrive in the little village of Niebendorf to stay with Christian, Ben, Lucia, Virginia in the gardens of Ventus e V. It is a group of fantastic people who are giving a few teenagers a chance to try an alternative psychiatric health treatment, living close to nature and lowering their medication.
We had a wonderful sunset as we celebrated Katy’s birthday with an Austrian cherry cake cooked on the rocket stove with cherries from trees passed on the long day’s ride. Christian made us a little campfire with a dancing flame.
|July 19, 2013||Posted by grenzblog under 2013, Borders|
Wir werden auf unserer Reise mehr Sprachgrenzen übertreten, die nicht mit Staatsgrenzen übereinstimmen, als Staatsgrenzen, die gleichzeitig eine scharfe Sprachgrenze darstellen.
Heute haben wir eine überquert: Die erste Grenze der “offiziellen” Mehrsprachigkeit. Auch wenn dies z.B. in Berlin jeden zweiten Meter passiert: Die Stadt mit ihren tausenden Sprachen gilt juristisch gesehen als einsprachig.
Anders die Situation in der Lausitz, deren Grenze wir heute passiert haben: Als “offiziell anerkannte” Minderheit im deutschen Recht, gilt das Gebiet der Sorben als mehrsprachig. Dies zeigt sich uns als erstes markant an den zweisprachigen Ortsschildern, aber natürlich hören wir es auch hier und dort.
Ein zweiter Indikator für historische Zweisprachigkeit von Regionen sind Orte, die in ihrem Namen als Präfix den Namen der Sprachgruppe tragen, die in ihnen historische dominierte, bzw. die sie von anderssprachigen Orten in der Umgebung unterschied. Namen, wie “Deutsch-Irgendwas”, “Wendisch/Windisch-Irgendwas”, “Serbski-Soundso”, “Nemiecki-Irgendwo”, “Slovenj Gradec”, “Deutsch-Landsberg”, “Deutschkreuz”, “Horvat-Nadalja” / “Madgar-Nadalja” werden uns bis in Kroatien in den Grenzregionen begegnen.