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Iraqi Order 81

The common worldwide practice of saving heirloom seeds from one year to the next is now illegal in Iraq.
Iraqi Order 81
By Rosemarie Jackowski
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
(reposted by daniel)

How did this happen? While few of us were paying attention, the Coalition Provisional Authority, representing the government of the United States, imposed a set of 100 orders on Iraq. A careful examination of these orders could lead to the conclusion that the war is being waged to enrich corporations at the expense of the ordinary citizens. Many of these orders take freedom and liberty away from the people of Iraq. The orders also have a profound effect on us.

Iraqi Order 81 is of special interest because it goes a long way in affecting every living being on the planet. This order prohibits Iraqi farmers from using the methods of agriculture that they have used for centuries. The common worldwide practice of saving heirloom seeds from one year to the next is now illegal in Iraq. Order 81 wages war on Iraqi farmers. They have lost the freedom and liberty to choose their own methods of agriculture.

The food chain has been under worldwide assault by U.S. corporations for some time now. The Master Race of corporations has seized control of the very essence of life itself. We are now in the age of Genetically Modified Doomsday Seeds.

This is not exactly a new phenomenon. It has been a gradual takeover. Remember Percy Schmeiser, the Canadian farmer, who was sued by Monsanto? Not enough people stood up for Percey, so then they came for other farmers. In fact, Monsanto has sued so many farmers that a national hotline (1-888-FARMHLP) has now been set up to assist them.

Those who have been pushing for Tort Reform never mention the frivolous, mean-spirited lawsuits brought by Monsanto against U.S. farmers. This is a David and Goliath battle and, as usual, our government is on the side of Goliath. Order 81 now spreads the assault on farmers to Iraq. The domino effect is underway. The victim farmers in the U.S., Iraq, Canada, and all of the other countries who have been under attack by Monsanto need our help. The Tort Reform that is really needed would be reform aimed at compensating victims of corporate intimidation.

The corporations, backed up by the Pentagon, have been jackbooting and goose stepping their way across the planet. Whether you like it or not, you probably will have some franken food on your dinner plate tonight. franken foods, grown from franken seeds, brought to you compliments of the Franken Empire. Our own USDA was complicit in the development of Terminator seeds. Picture Dr. Strangelove on the John Deere.

The existence of Order 81, and the other 99 orders, which limit Iraqi liberty and freedom, creates some interesting questions. How can Washington even pretend that the election in Iraq is legitimate if U.S. imposed rules are enforced after the election, or are we to believe that the 100 Orders are canceled by the election? I don't think so.

Is it possible that Iraqi farmers think back fondly to the good old days before the Occupation and before Order 81? Even Saddam Hussein allowed them to save seeds for the next year's crop. Is Monsanto a worse master than Saddam? Imagine what would happen if there was a successful worldwide movement of resistance, an international Save the Seed Campaign. Farmers and consumers in the U.S. need to stand in solidarity with the farmers and consumers in Iraq.

If you have a stamp or coin collection, forget it. Instead, it might be better to start collecting seeds. Maybe soon, one good old-fashioned seed that was made by Mother Nature will be more precious than your most prized gold coin. Just one more thing. if you save seeds, keep it a secret. The Seed Police have been on patrol. They are looking for you.

On Town Meeting Day, 2004, in Vermont, the citizens in seventy-nine towns passed resolutions against genetically engineered crops. Then Vermont made history when it became the first state to require the labeling of Genetically Modified seeds. "The Farmer Protection Act is a pre-emptive strike to stop predatory lawsuits against Vermont's family farmers by biotech companies like Monsanto," said Ben Davis with the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. Maybe this small, but hard-fought, victory gives reason to hope for a better world.

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Rosemarie Jackowski is an advocacy journalist living in Vermont. She can be reached at  dissent@sover.net

add a comment on this article

A basic human right 17.Feb.2005 20:31

politics as impossible

Looking across the vast wasteland of the "accomplishments," so to speak, of the unholy alliance of libertarianism / neo-liberalism / "evangelical" fundamentalism that is currently ruling "SuperAmerika" -- I see nothing as horrifying as the war on heritage seeds -- on seed saving. Seed saving is the fundamental need of any sane program of human life, according to Thoreau's "WALDEN POND." If there is such a thing as a basic human right, that ought to be universally recognized, supported and defended, it is seed saving.