9 Eylül 2008 Salı

Life on Board of Rainbow Warrior

After the day of action the Rainbow Warrior woke up from the night stretching her limbs to get ready for the new journey to Turkey. A hearty breakfast to ones liking and a freshly brewed coffee was all we needed to get our brooms and mops to clean out the place and pick up every bit of dust and dirt. Clean and tidy we lifted the anchor and got out the harbor. A small navy gun boat made a circle around us for five minutes as we took course and made a sharp turn and disappeared back into the harbour. It looked like curious crow which lost interest quickly. As I was talking to the photographer on board, a french fellow, Pierre is the name, with more than two decades under his arm following Greenpeace actions around the world... the ship is full of able and dedicated souls, all an ocean in themselves.

Looking out the horizon the alarms rang in a shrill sound... crew rushed to the master stations some rubbing their eyes from last nights watch. We got a full briefing on the fire teams, man over board rules and teams. Luckily the drill was announced on the notice board so we knew that it was training. Already the first day of the journey the campaign team had a series of important meetings to get ready for Turkey. The growl in my stomach announced that it was time for lunch...

Our cook was laying in bed for he was ill, but our two Israeli volunteers went into the kitchen and produced a miracle; tasty basil and mozarella sandwiches with pesto, and a fantastic spicy cauliflower, coconut and cashew souce on rice... a salad of course as always. The crew needs a lot of calories for their hard work, but for a not so hard working office person like me, I am afraid with the tasty food I will step off the ship with a couple kilos extra, if not careful. After lunch I went on the master station to have my tea and look to the horizon. I was getting dizzy on the ship after looking into the computer screen for a few hours. Sitting on deck and looking into the horizon I got my internal balances sorted out. I thought I never would get seasick having gone through many voyages in the sea, but of course I had never sat in front of a computer in other journeys.

There was Louis our Chief Engineer on deck, for a break away from the engine room, swaying with the waves in his hammock taking a sun bath after a cold shower. We had a nice chat about the waste water system of the Rainbow Warrior. We have limited fresh water so we have to be careful to save water and not take long showers, luckily the toilets flush saltwater. The toilet water gets special aerobic decomposition treatment and after getting cleaned mixes with the other gray water from showers and wash basins. After one final treatment which includes UV light surrounding the pipe all the bacteria is maimed before it gets discharged. It is a good feeling to know that we take the best precautions on the ship and don't only recycle...

What another drill?... This time the fire alarm sounded, again I was there on deck and did not have to run up stairs. Pep our First Mate was there to inform that it was a false alarm. Our cooks were busy preparing food now for dinner, the vapour from the cooking had set on the alarm. Better be prepared than sorry, better a false alarm then the real one! Whenever on deck looking right I was concerned about the coast of Israel. I was alarmed this time... the alarm is sounding deep in my mind and heart. There is an endless line of white and high buildings. Not only sucking up energy from coal which kills the climate and our future, but also destroying the coast. Is there a stretch of coast that has not been appropriated by people in the Eastern Mediterranean. We left no space for nature, we think all is ours and while taking more and more from nature we are taking more and more from ourselves...

I will be on watch duty tonight from midnight to 4 am in the morning. Watching a ship is rather uncomplicated, I'll do my duty and sleep some more tomorrow. But what we really need to watch is the planet itself. She is a ship in an endless ocean of space. Right now she needs a lot more than people watching it, she needs people to act! Act Now! Quit Coal!

Dr. Uygar Ozesmi - Greenpeace Mediterranean

8 Eylül 2008 Pazartesi

Coal Kills - Quit Coal - Action in Askhelon

The Rainbow Warrior sailed out of Ashdod port heading towards the Ashkelon Coal Plant. The Captain sailed thru different security zones and finally we were contacted by the Israeli Navy and asked to turn back because we were in a zone "where other things were happening". We responded with saying that we have no intention of jeopardizing security, that we were on our way out, and were here for a non-violent peaceful action against coal power plants that is causing climate change. Nili, Greenpeace Mediterranean Campaigner against Climate Change, was communicating constantly in Hebrew, to calm them now and understand what we are doing. A high-speed navy boat approached us with a machine gun in front. Getting a radio signal the captain asked us all to clear the deck and get in for security. The press stayed on deck at their own risk. My eye caught the glimpse of a woman at the machine gun. After a few minutes I was up the bridge again. In communication with the media boat we met 2 miles away from the coal loading pier. As the media came, the woman at the gun went inside and the boat turned away and disappeared. As soon as they were gone, a police boat appeared. They boarded the ship without permission, and with their guns, although they were kindly asked to leave their guns behind. As they entered the bridge the media boat also approached us and journalists came on board. The police was was asked endless questions and they tried to appear cool, but what they did was get off board. Go to the media boat captain and threaten him with loosing his licence if he would not take them back to the harbour and not hang around us. As the police boat was escorting the media back ashore. The Greenpeace inflatables were being offloaded for an action. Activists jumped in and disappeared among the waves towards the gigantic coal ship "Cape Heron". Our on board press, a photographer and videographer were there to record everything. As two boats were finished painted our message in Hebrew "Coal Kills" and in English "Quit Coal" on the "Cape Heron". The police arrived and after getting really angry that we were playing chase in the water, their engines 3 times as powerful as ours caught up with us and they pulled our non-violent the activists and the engine keys out by force.

Back in the ship in constant communication, even when they were arrested, we knew their fate. They were pulled to a secure harbour were they were held in inflatables and questioned one by one. Our lawyer was there to defend them.

As we were waiting peacefully, and with some anxiety for our boats to return... The Israeli Navy asked kind enough for 'permission to board the ship.' Our captain granted this permission but they did not respect our no-arms policy. And put our captain under arrest and ordered him to take the ship to the Port of Ashdod. Our captain refused to take the ship with crew already arrested and away, and said that he was ready to take the ship to the harbour only if the police would take all the responsibility... I think that gave this policeman an understanding of what it means to be responsible for a whole ship and the people in it! Later on I caught up with this quite disrespectful man and talked to him about his two children and their future in Askhelon. We talked about respiratory diseases in the short term, rising sealevel and food security issues related to coal, the biggest contributor to climate change. We talked about Israel being a leader in solar technologies and how stupid it is to invest in coal power plants, sending their hard earned "shekels" outside for imported coal. And off the sun and desert in Israel that shines stronger everyday. We talked about the future and why Greenpeace was here...

As we entered the Port of Ashdod we heard that activists were released and on their way back. Our captains arrest was lifted and our activists came back on board. Once again we sent out the message to Israel and allthe world that we need to quit coal if we don't, it will kill our future and the planet...

Dr. Uygar Ozesmi - Greenpeace Mediterranean

6 Eylül 2008 Cumartesi

Quit Coal Tour in Israel

Just two months ago we were part of the Arctic Sunrise Tour for the protection of Blue Fin Tuna and the creation of Marine Reserves in Greenpeace Med. Now we are part of the Rainbow Warrior Tour for the Quit Coal campaign. When we get to host a Greenpeace ship its always great excitement. It is also a lot of work for the team, but they don't feel it because of their enthusiasm. The same enthusiasm is also shared by our supporters. The Rainbow Warrior is such a strong Greenpeace icon that I must say I was very excited.

During my trip form Istanbul to Tel Aviv, my mind was with the team and how the preparations were going. When I met the team I was sure that everything was in order. In the morning we took the shuttle to the Haifa Harbour. When we arrived there were also lines of people infront of the gate. Squezzing through the lines to the gate I felt like the priviledged crews who always get to jump lines... a little embarrassed by that too. Then came the waiting to get our passports cleared and the visitors were able to get before us on board. We had to watch a little jelous this time. The team had prepared an exhibition to talk about the climate impacts of climate change. The music was playing, children were dancing with their mothers, some were jumping rope,.. rope pulling. Walking the patway down was the bridge up to the Rainbow Warrior. Again there was a croud waiting for guides and their turn to get on the ship. We were counting on a couple of hundred visitors, but this was beyond our expectations. That day we had more than 1200 visitors come to the ship. People got off with a big smile, having experienced a ship that symbolizes the struggle for a society in harmony with the planet. The ship had witnessed many environmental crimes and stood in resistance to those who do not care for the planet, blinded enough to comit crimes against nature and humanity. People on board gave the hope that there will be a future for all.

After we said goodbye to everyone, the ship started sailing to the Port of Ashdod. Sleeping in the upper bunk of our rather basic but comfortable cabin in the ship, I went a sleep thinking what a good day we had with our supporters. Tomorrow we will have a sailing with our institutional supporters, members of parliament, government officials, journalists, and fellow environmental NGOs. They are supporting us in the 'Quit Coal' campaign. No campaign can be a real success without the support of all stakeholders. And these are the people from Israel we believe we will work together to prevent the building of a new coal fired coal plant in Askhelon. The stuggle will continue until no new plants are built anywhere in the world.

Dr. Uygar Ozesmi - Greenpeace Mediterranean

3 Eylül 2008 Çarşamba

Asaf Ertan (2008) Türkiye’yi Kuşlarla Gezelim. Doğa Gözcüleri Derneği. Arkeoloji ve Sanat Yayınları, İstanbul.

Kitap Kritiği

Kuşlara selam olsun…

Yazı: Uygar Özesmi

Bir alimden… bir gezginden... bir aşıktan… sokaktaki her insandan... Gün gelir de her vatandaş 27 kuş türünü akıldan sayabilirse burada Asaf Ertan’ın hakkı verilir. Kadir şinas Asaf Ertan, kitabını Salih Acar’a adamış. Salih Acar sadece meşhur bir ressam, bir kuş ressamı olmakla kalmayıp, Doğal Hayatı Koruma Derneği’nin kurucularından ve kuş gözlemciliğinin yaygınlaşmasına katkı koyanlardan. Ben kuş gözlemciliğine Redhouse Yayınlarından Salih Acar’ın siluetlerini çizdiği Kuşlarımız kitabı ile başladım. Belkıs ve Salih Acar’ın izinden tam 36 yıl sonra çıkan bu kitap ise yepyeni bir nesile ve malesef çok daha bozulmuş bir dünyaya doğuyor.  Eminim yeni kuşak kuş gözlemcilerine yoldaş olacak ve onları, kuşların büyülü ve o denli zevkli dünyasına taşıyacak. 

Kuşların o büyülü ve zevkli dünyası dertli bu günlerde. Yaşam bulmaya çalıştıkları her köşeye “Medeniyet dediğin tek dişi kalmış canavar” saldırıyor. Göller kuruyor, sazlıklar yanıyor, dağlar, yaylalar, kıyılar turizme kurban; bozkırlar vahşi tarım ve otlatmanın, geri kalan alanlar ise kentlerin fabrikaların, yolların, madenlerin, boruların pençesinde…

Kim vahşi?

Pençesini karın doyurmak için uzatan bir şahin mi? Yoksa pençesine herşeyi geçiren iştahı sonsuz medeniyet mi? Bu canavarın farkında olanlar, pençesinden doğa ve kuşları kurtarmaya kararlı olanlar, bu kitabı alıp okusunlar ve okutsunlar. Bir zamanlar avcı olan bir insanın nasıl dönüşüp korumacı olduğunu görsünler. Kuşla başlayacakları macerayı bir doğa gözcüsü olarak bitirsinler.

Türkiye’yi Kuşlarla Gezelim, arazide yanınızda taşımak için biraz büyük ve ağır bir kitap. Metinleri ise kuşları teşhis için, resimlerinden daha yararlı. Kitabın gerçek değeri içindeki özgün metinler. Bu metinler Asaf Ertan’ın 50 yılı geçen gözlemlerinden ve bilgeliğinden süzülüp geliyor. Kitabı elime alıp bütün metinleri ve betimlemeleri keyifle okuduğumu söylemeliyim. Her ne kadar bir kaynak veya başvuru kitabı olsa da, bir doğasever için bir okuma kitabı olduğunu söylemeliyim. Arazide yanınızda götürmek ve teşhisleri doğru yapmak için belki daha iyi kitaplar bulmak mümkün olabilir, ama kitapta bunlar arka sayfalarda verilmiş. 

Bunun dışında kuşlara ilgi duyanlar için çok iyi bir başlangıç kitabı. Asaf Ertan’ın eşi ve can yoldaşı Şahika Ertan’ın dediği gibi, “Biz aslında tüm kainatı kuşlarla beraber görmeyi, kucaklamayı, sevmeyi istiyoruz ve –tek hücreli bir canlıdan yola çıkıp dev mavi balinaya dek– tüm kainatı kucaklamak”… Haydi gelin, hep beraber kucaklayalım!

Bu yazı Yeşiliz Sayı:11 Yıl: 2008 sayfa 60’da yayınlanmıştır.