Newspaper logo  
 
 
  Terrorist or EcoPatriot?

GUEST COLUMN:

Terrorist or EcoPatriot?

by Andrew George

I ask you, where is the real terrorism here: Peaceful protest or clearcuts that create killer landslides?
On Father's Day, I told my dad the US federal government called me a "Terrorist."

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.

Ranger Doug claims we are "terrorists" because we are "intimidating" and "coercing" private companies in order to stop logging in the community's watershed. This is not only ridiculous, it is the kind of redbaiting and McCarthyism that should make any public official feel ashamed.

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.

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.

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 andrew@forestadvocate.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 Gov’t Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

06.26 German government agrees to ban fracking after years of dispute

06.26 Coal-Plant Retirements in New England Have ‘Opened the Door’ for Alternatives

06.24 UK's out vote is a 'red alert' for the environment

06.24 66 million dead trees in California could fuel 'catastrophic' wildfires, officials say

06.22 Republicans Offer a Plan to Replace Obamacare

06.22 Women Take Over the Family Farm

06.22 Our new alliance unites 600m city dwellers in fight against climate change

06.22 California's last nuclear plant to close amid longstanding earthquake concerns

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

06.26 Mapping the Rise of Anti-LGBT Legislation on the First Anniversary of Nationwide Marriage Equality

06.26 Draft of Dems' policy positions reflects Sanders' influence

06.24 What It Will Take to Gain My Support in 2020

06.22 THE WOMAN CARD

06.22 How American Politics Went Insane

06.22 MAKING A KILLING

06.22 America's gun problem is so much bigger than mass shootings

06.22 Insult, provoke, repeat: how Donald Trump became America's Hugo Chávez

06.21 Con vs. Con

06.21 Clinton's Wall Street Donors Revolt After Warren Emerges as VP Contender

06.21 The Issues the Candidates Aren’t Talking About

06.20 People's Summit Offers Hope for a Movement Bigger Than Bernie

Justice Matters

06.24 Experts ask for new investigation into disappearance of 43 Mexican students

High Crimes?

06.21 THE SHADOW DOCTORS

Economics, Crony Capitalism

06.26 Coal Industry on the Brink in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah

06.21 The Growing Case for Massive Taxes on the Rich

06.21 George Soros: EU exit risks 'black Friday'

International

06.26 What's the British Equivalent of 'Moving to Canada'?

06.26 BREXIT MAKES THE U.S. THE LAST, BEST HOPE FOR LIBERALISM

06.24 Britain has voted to leave the EU – what happens next?

06.24 More than 1,200 die of starvation and illness at Nigeria refugee camp

06.24 Beijing has fallen: China's capital sinking by 11cm a year, satellite study warns

06.24 Nicola Sturgeon prepares for second Scottish independence poll

06.24 European far right hails Britain's Brexit vote

06.24 European far right hails Britain's Brexit vote

06.24 David Cameron resigns after UK votes to leave European Union [videos]

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web

Public Service Ads: