THESSALONIKI 22 MAY 2015
Respected Ladies and Gentlemen of Canada's Diplomatic Corps in Greece and of the Federal Government of Canada
As residents of Meghali Panaghia, the village closest to the area where the Eldorado Gold Corporation operates, and as inhabitants of the municipality to which the forest of Skouries belongs, a forest now being actively destroyed by the above mentioned company, we would like to point out a few things – which you ought to be aware of and respect, since you claim to support and promote ethical investment and beneficial enterprises, rather than opportunistic and destructive looting.
We are challenging the ethics of your active and official involvement in testing procedures and in the approval of activities of Eldorado Gold in Northeast Halkidiki, as well as in Thrace, where the Greek Goldmining Company operates (none other than Eldorado Gold again).
Meghali Panaghia is a village of about 3,000 inhabitants and is situated just 3.5 km from the “mining fields”. There are another 15 villages, with a total population of 20,000 people, at distances from 4 to 7 km away from the areas defined as “mining fields” in the region (we are putting the phrase mining field in quotation marks since the metals of interest to the company (Au-gold and Cu-copper) are to be found at very low percentages in the soil – fluctuating from 0.18 gr to 0, 8gr per tonne of material at the most, meaning that at least 20 tonnes of dug up soil would be needed to make a single engagement ring.)
As a direct result of the commencement of mining activities in such proximity to where they live, the breathing space of these people has become dramatically restricted and will very soon force them to migrate on a mass scale: 6 tonnes of explosives on a daily basis cannot be tolerated by any standard of sanity at such close distance.
We know that Capital and Profiteers are not the least characterized by honesty or humanitarian sensitivity, but we would like you to seriously consider the fact that Greece is not a vast country like Canada, and its residents are therefore not susceptible to such drastic demographic upheavals, and neither in Meghali Panaghia nor in the entire Northeast Halkidiki can they accept this dramatic shrinking of their living space in the name of whatever private interests.
You should also seriously consider the fact that the area which is to be mined in Skouries is the main aquifer not only of the surrounding villages but also of the entire Southern Halkidiki.
This means that the above-mentioned "investment" interferes with and directly denies the right to life not only to the residents of Meghali Panaghia, but of the entire Halkidiki. You are surely aware of the fact that water, the quality standards of which are set and protected by EU as well as international directives, is one of the common goods and that, together with breathing air, are absolutely indispensable to the existence of life itself. The mismanagement and contamination of common resources of life are, today –and even more so in the near future- connected to many serious conflicts and wars.
Also, you ought to know, given that as diplomatic authorities and hence as representatives of the State and government you have been involved in this affair, that high-ranking employees of Hellas Gold, a subsidiary of Eldorado Gold, have stated publicly that "investing will not happen with the presence of special police forces", while in fact precisely the opposite is true: There have been continuous protests on the part of residents and ongoing active suppression and criminal charges on the part of the company. So far 350 people have been persecuted, to the satisfaction of, or as a direct result of, your own “diplomatic pressure” or mere indifference.
Another company official stated that if resistance to extraction were expressly formed and demonstrated, the company would have no reason to continue its activity.... However, after nine years of strikes and protests, in the context of a 20 year-old fight against the absurdities of this Canadian company and in spite of the “expressly formed and demonstrated” resistance on all levels (here we refer to the institutional aspect of the movement against the mines, such as the prevalence of the anti-mining position in local elections, the election of a local MP with a clear anti-mining stance in the last two elections, but also to the officially expressed position of the current government of Greece), still, the above company continues to attack the people with disastrous fait accomplis and Mr. Peck continues blackmailing the Greek governments toward achieving private interests, something that we believe contradicts the official positions of the Federal State of Canada, as expressed e.g., in the G7-G8 resolutions on the protectionism of certain companies.
We must wonder about the reliability and trustworthiness of the reports offered by Mr. Peck to his superiors and to the Canadian people. We believe that he comprehends neither the real anxieties and real concerns of the people, nor the objective physical reality of the area we are talking about. He has no first-hand experience, he has not met the “natives”, has not discussed with them, has not walked through the area, has no idea whatsoever of the situation there. His actions are dictated solely by the upward trends on the dashboard of the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Finally we would like to express some thoughts that are more of a sentimental nature, with a deeper anthropological dimension. Our general impression (though we should first ask the natives there) of your great and beautiful country that is so far away from ours, is that of a civilized society, with respect for democracy and human rights. We are sorry to realize that things are not exactly as we thought. Over the last 20 years, from the arrival of the Canadian TVX Gold company in 1996 to the appearance of European Goldfields, another Canadian company, and finally of the Eldorado Gold Corporation, what we have seen of Canada and Canadians is opportunism, pillage, and destructive disregard for the realities in the area of investment and mining.
We did our research and realized, (until then we had hesitated to believe even our own experience) that Canadian prosperity is grounded upon organized crime, corruption, tax evasion, the institutionalized looting of resources, massive and irreversible pollution, attacks on public health and the criminalization of movements resisting all the above.
We are not asking you to change capitalism. We are not asking you to change the rules in the groups you belong you, such as the G7, the G8, the G20 etc. We are simply asking you for political honesty. We are simply asking you to implement your own rules, the very rules of the Toronto Stock Exchange, by informing your brokers and shareholders about the heavy social, political, environmental and economic cost of “investments” such as that of Eldorado Gold. We are also asking you to abide to your obligation to Canadian Law, that is to inform the Canadian People, the small investors and the small account-holders, the pension funds and the insurance funds, the banks and the citizens, that there are no fair winds and following seas for such investments in Northeast Halkidiki, in Northern Greece, in many other parts of the world, and that there never were.(remember TVX Gold). The only way this paranoia they call investment can be realized is by stirring more conflicts, more corruption, more discord and more hatred.
In conclusion, you should wake up the fact that the struggle for land, freedom and self-determination is the struggle of life against the refusal of life. As for the "investment" aspirations of your protégé, we assure you that:
Mining will not happen, do not nourish any false hopes - If you want gold, you’ll need to get it from your safety-deposit boxes.
Struggle Committee of Meghali Panaghia