Terrorist or EcoPatriot?
You see, I had just driven back from a week at the Eastern Forest Action Camp in the exceptionally beautiful Jefferson National Forest of southwest Virginia. I hadn't called Dad before heading into the woods, and I was barely getting back home in time to say "Happy Father's Day."
My dad and I are pretty close, but I wasn't sure how to tell him that the US Forest Service (USFS) District Ranger called the campers "Terrorists." It was a Father’' Day surprise, to say the least.
This year's camp was on Virginia's High Knob mountain, where local residents are working to protect their families from a Forest Service plan to clearcut in their watershed. The USFS District Ranger considers us terrorists because we intend to use non-violent, civil disobedience to stop the logging.
You may have heard about the Forest Service's 700-acre "Bark Camp" logging project planned for High Knob. Previous logging approved by the Forest Service contributed to major flooding that created 27 landslides, swept away homes and killed a man. The new logging is planned right in the flood's path.
Seven years ago, the folks on High Knob organized themselves to save their mountain and families. 5,000 local residents signed petitions opposing the Forest Service. They call themselves the Clinch Coalition for the river that runs through this part of the beautiful Southern Appalachian Mountains. (clinchcoalition.org).
The Clinch Coalition lost their final legal case in federal court last month. But, instead of giving up, they decided to keep struggling to stop the Forest Service from endangering their lives and ruining the public's forest. Left without any other recourse, the Clinch Coalition is turning to America's time-honored tradition of civil disobedience.
Non-violent, peaceful protest didn't begin with the environmental movement and it probably won't end with it, but the Clinch Coalition has been perfecting their skills in civil disobedience for several years now. Because of this, the USFS District Ranger, Doug Jones, considers us "Terrorists."
In fact, Ranger Doug told his entire staff that we were terrorists, even though he knows we only use non-violent, peaceful techniques to protest civilly. Calling us terrorists is not only ridiculous, it is the kind of redbaiting and McCarthyism that should make any public official feel ashamed.
Ranger Doug claims we are "terrorists" because we are "intimidating" and "coercing" private companies in order to stop logging in the community's watershed. Protests may be colorful and even intimidating, but taking a non-violent, peaceful stand doesn't make you a terrorist.
Were Martin Luther King, Jr. or Gandhi "terrorists" for using civil disobedience that intimidated and threatened racist or imperialist institutions? Obviously not. We are willing to sacrifice, get arrested, pay fines and potentially go to jail for something in which we deeply believe, and that attracts public concern and ultimately changes the government for the better.
If it weren't for peaceful protest, we wouldn't have civil rights, voting rights for women, or even the five-day workweek. Many people were called things like "terrorists" in their work to secure these rights, but in the end, they were called patriotic Americans.
It is not only our right but also our responsibility to defend the families and forests of High Knob. It is our duty as Americans to defend our fellow citizens and public lands. We are Eco-Patriots.
I ask you, where is the real terrorism here: Peaceful protest or clearcuts that create killer landslides?
Across the country, the Bush Administration's Forest Service is abusing the law and the will of the people. To stop them, eco-patriots across the country are joining in the "Forests and Freedoms Summer" to stop the Bush Administration from cutting down the public's forests and cutting out the public from participating in national forest management. The effort to save the people and forests on High Knob is part of this national campaign. To learn more, check out www.endangeredforests.org.
For Father's Day, when I told my dad we were called "terrorists," he wasn't ashamed. In fact, when he heard the US Forest Service called his son a "terrorist"-a son who learned about the power of civil disobedience from his father-my dad knew it was only the mudslinging and slander of a desperate agency, and that I must be doing something right.
You can do the right thing, too. Join us on High Knob and take a stand for forests, families, and freedoms.
Andrew George is the national campaign coordinator for the National Forest Protection Alliance, an umbrella group of 130 grassroots environmental organizations dedicated to saving endangered public forests. He lives in Chapel Hill, NC and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2004 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
This story was published on June 28, 2004.
Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
06.11 Underpaid Adjunct Professors Sleep in Cars and Rely on Public Aid [The disease of rapacious-capitalism infects the education system]
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
06.17 Oil companies double down on plastics as public outcry grows [Obscene!]
06.15 So much plastic is being made that "recycling has no impact" [Non-recyclable plastic must be made illegal to manufacture, use]
06.15 We must transform our lives and values to save this burning planet [Increased ice melt in polar latitudes has been disguising reality in the middle latitudes. This effect will soon be replaced by record heat as ice volume and seasonal melting increasingly declines.]
06.15 This all-male council in Texas just voted to ban abortion [1:59 video; Bad assumptions foment ignorant actions...]
06.10 Conservatives should change how they think about global warming. I did [Another crisis issue conservatives won't acknowledge...]
06.10 Scottish Power to build vast battery to improve wind energy supply [Who won't understand this?]
06.10 Greenpeace activists board BP oil rig as it is towed out to sea [Fossil fuel company conduct should be illegal...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
06.17 Climate change leadership would create a new 'American century' [We must incentivize the strategic good, again, before it's too late.]
06.17 Jon Stewart takes aim at McConnell in continued fight for 9/11 victim compensation fund [2:56 C-SPAN video]
06.17 Drug Cop Worth $400 Million After Bets on Brooklyn Real Estate [A better role-model than Trump or Kushner!]
06.15 White House physicist sought aid of rightwing thinktank to challenge climate science [When your President is a quack he naturally surrounds himself with sycophants]
06.13 Why are we still pretending 'trickle-down' economics work? [We aren't ‘laffing’ now! In Trump-world all the worst people are celebrated. Ref.: 3:07 Idiocracy Courtroom Scene]
06.14 Justice Denied, Delayed, or Done Right? Serious Concerns as Prosecutors Throw Out Charges in Flint Water Crisis Cases [A very flawed prosecution using suspiciously limited evidence has been thrown out, a stronger case will be brought using newly found, voluminous evidence.]
06.17 'Blatant Theft': Netanyahu Unveils Illegal Settlement Named 'Trump Heights' in Occupied Syrian Territory [Great deal: the U.S. gives Israel $Billions every year, and they name an illegal settlement—to be built on Palestinian land—after Trump]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
06.15 'Eye-Popping': Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion in Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom Half Lost $900 Billion [More equality or bring back the guillotines!]
International & Futurism
06.17 Saudi Arabia May Execute Teenager for His Protests — Including When He Was 10 [America's “best ally” is psychopathically insane]
06.17 Why Venezuela Is the Vietnam of Our Time [Powerful, clear writing!]
06.17 Hopes for climate progress falter with coal still king across Asia [Governments must subsidize very rapid installation of renewable energy to displace all fossil energy—aka DEATH ENERGY—power plants that must be made illegal ASAP]
06.15 Africa’s Lost Kingdoms
06.15 The US must stand with the people of Hong Kong [But this attacks Xi's authoritarianism, which Trump is most envious of for himself...]
06.13 What does it mean to be genetically Jewish? [Doing a mental dance with archanery: could a significant number of Russians and Palestinians be intentionally included or excluded as genetically Jewish? And why would Israel do this?]