Fishing for arguments in Bremen
Last weekend I was attending the 32nd Protestant „Kirchentag“ (Churchday) in Bremen. It was a four-day Congress all over the city with several hundret-thousand visitors from the entire country. One might have expected a lot of prayers and singing and even though this was a crucial part of the whole event, it was crowded with all kind of organisations presenting themselves and doing workshops and panels on different topics Naturally, I hang around the „one world“ district most of the time, discussing why a Christian (a.k.a. religious) view on climate change is actually a „green“ view. Conservative Parties might use the „C“ in their names extensively to show a bond to faith, but in actual politics – and this was agreed upon with many brothers and sisters – green politics that is for a conservation of the nature, of a world that is still beautiful tomorrow, a social system in which everyone can participate and live in dignity and solidarity among rich and poor, north and south, east and west – without armament and hatred, is more „christian“ than anything the conservative rightwing neoliberal marketlovers ever offered us!
I was in a discussion event, hosted by the protestant development service (EED) on fisheries and hunger in West Africa. They invited not only fishermen from the South – which is a must of course – but also the „devil himself“ – twice! Two representatives of the fishery industries (one businessmen from Holland and one EU-bureaucrat) sat on the panel. This was good and bad at the same time. For once, we were not only talking about the bad evil industry but were able to direct our anger and critique directly to the people responsible. On the other hand, the industry was slashing back with arguments. They were blaming russian and chinese companies for pirate fishing and tried to rid themselves form the label of „pirate“ by putting this in purely legal terms. They often refered to their legal right to fish on westafrican coasts. But is it legal if the Senegalese government gets 80million for fishing rights which in turn hurts thousands of fishermpeople on its coast. Where is this money going? Why is the money so little compared to the worth of those fisher-rights? Can Europe ever buy a „right“ to fish there – doesn’t it belong to the people and not some corrupt government? The industry said it made a new law – coming into force 1st of janury 2010 – that prohibits fish on the european market that was fished illegal. TO protect our big market form bad chinese and russian products. But what this actually means is, that Africans can even harder sell their products here in Europe when their own governements sell THEIR fishingrights to european companies. (Do Africans want to sell their fish in Europe, or doesn’t this even matter? I don’t know).