"A thousand years and longer we have lived like dear brothers.
You, you endure that I breathe. And I endure your rage"
(Heinrich Heine "An Edom")
|Lusatia briefing at Foreign Press Association, London May 2002|
(Jan Nuk, Domowina Chairman, left / Tomaš Kappa / Ralph Thomas Kappler, centre)
"A quarter of our entire nation has been forced to leave our homelands by the mining lobby. We Sorbs are being forced over the cliff", warned Jan Nuk, chairman of the Sorbian umbrella organisation, Domowina, through the Foreign Press Association in London. Shortly afterwards, the gates of Buckingham Palace opened for Sorbian representatives. Sorbs brought the first foreign gift to London during the "Golden Jubilee" of Queen Elizabeth II. Sorbs have not campaigned in the British capital since the end of WW II. In 1946 they tried, in vain, to lobby in London for Lusatia to join with Czechoslovakia.
There are also signs of hope. The SERBSKI SEJMIK tried to become the first grass roots movement towards a Sorbian parliament. Stanislav Tillich is the first Minister President of Sorbian origin. Musicians of the cult band Silbermond speak Sorbian. The 20th Century Fox studios distributed the KRABAT film, which featured renowned German stars such as Daniel Brühl and Robert Stadlober. However, the German film-makers failed to mention that the bestseller KRABAT was originally a Sorbian epic freedom story, published by Měrćin Nowak-Njechorński.
136 obliterated villages
Werner Domain and his wife were the last inhabitants of the Sorbian village of Horno. The seventy year old, retired couple tried to withstand the ongoing intimidation of mining operators. They managed to plant a linden tree in front of their house while giant coal excavators approached amidst deafening noise and clouds of dust. By then, Horno was already deserted and destroyed as if by war.
136 villages disappeared in Lusatian lignite coal craters, right in the heart of Germany. Germany, the self-proclaimed green technology and eco-champion! These brutal actions accelerated the dissolution of the Sorbian people. On the Internet site www.verschwundene-orte.de one can find the melodious names of destroyed Sorbian villages such as Publik, Bukovina, Horno, Barak, Rovno or Lacoma.
Horno was destroyed by the Swedish state-owned energy company Vattenfall, although there was no exploitable coal under this village. Vattenfall took over almost the entire East German energy infrastructure during the fall of communism. This was no coincidence, since some of the most prominent East German politicians made a swift career under these lobbying wings. Sweden was also one of the main western trade partners and technology suppliers to the East German communist regime. Today, Vattenfall sponsors Sorbian communications and education infrastructures, which undermines Sorbian self-representation. The Lusatian mining company Laubag announced euphemistically, that they had “appropriated” more than 750 square kilometres of land. What they actually did through this massive land excavation was to destroy an area the size of the City State Hamburg. Prof. Joachim Katzur, head of the Institute for Mining Redevelopment, goes even further in a ZEIT interview: "Actually, the Lusatian mining operators have affected four times as much land, if we also count the land where the flow of below ground water is disturbed."
|Over 130 destroyed villages - Strip Mining by Vattenfall in Lusatia|
Fairy tales about clean coal
"If we take the global climate change seriously, we need to steer away from lignite coal as quickly as possible", said Claudia Kempfert of the German Institute for Economic Research. Due to its low efficiency and huge greenhouse gas emissions, lignite coal is extremely damaging to the climate. We are now losing more than just the struggle for climate protection. Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) is just a PR buzz word invented by Vattenfall, RWE & Co. The proclaimed aim of this experimental technique is the reduction of CO2 emissions and their underground storage.
"CCS is in fact a tool to block investments in renewable energy technologies and thus to cement oligarchic fossil power structures," the energy expert of the Green Party, Astrid Schneider, explained. In Saxony, a parliamentary hearing failed recently to make the case for CCS. Vattenfall expert, Hubertus Altmann, admitted in Parliament that the CCS technology can not be industrially applied before the middle of the next decade, if at all.
Precious metals worth billions such as gold, platinum, silver, zinc and more than 2.7 million tons of copper shale were discovered in Lusatia. World market prices of up to 10,000 € can be reached for a single ton of copper. The Kupferschiefer KSL GmbH applied for mining rights in Lusatia. However, KSL operates under a murky Matryoshka principle. KSL is merely a subsidiary of the Panamanian Minera SA. Minera SA is in fact a subsidiary of the Canadian Inmet Mining. And Inmet Mining is headed by a German geologist from Aachen, its CEO, Jochen Tilk. Only citizen participation can provide contract transparency. And the Lusatian treasure hunt would find some sort of happy ending, if besides providing jobs and profits, substantial investments were to flow into the region’s educational system, universities and Sorbian language programs. Nuk’s successor, David Statnik, demands: "If mining rights are granted to companies for coal, copper or gold, they should have to invest in Lusatia as much as they would have to in Bavaria or North Rhine Westphalia.”
Thus, the question of who owns the ancestral Sorbian lands is still the focal topic which was neglected also by East German bureaucrats. Who are the rightful owners of the Lusatian land and its natural resources? This crucial question about the legitimacy of the hastily awarded excavation rights remains unanswered to this day.
|Sorbian Wendish village Horno - destroyed by Vattenfall (Foto Gerard Petit)|
At the reception in Buckingham Palace Jan Nuk and the author handed over a small blue-bound book entitled "Dwe Lubosci Ja Mam - Two loves I have in me”. Shakespeare's sonnets in Sorbian. Also, with the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk in mind, one could say, that Germans and Sorbs now must together learn to practise the techniques of joint survival. This know-how of joint survival is certainly the most substantial and yet undiscovered Lusatian treasure. Lusatia could still rise to become a cosmopolitan CleanTech country. Ironically, also the German majority would benefit from this change.
by Pogrom-Magazine of the "Society for Threatened Peoples - Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker“, Ralph Th. Kappler / Tomaš Kappa, Göttingen 2012
* Press Release: Sorbian Delegation at the London based Foreign Press Association
Joint statement of HALO ENERGY and DOMOWINA, London 2002
* Sorb EU Memorandum to EU-President José Manuel Barroso,
Sorbisches EU Memorandum an EU Präsident José Manuel Barroso,
Brussels / Budyšin / Bautzen, 7th of June 2012
* Ralph Th. Kappler / Tomaš Kappa founded the HALO ENERGY
CleanTech communications network in 2002 in London.
Distributed by HALO ENERGY
MORE INFORMATION ON SORBIAN LUSATIA
Domowina People's press
Łužiska Alianca – Lusatia Alliance - Lausitzer Allianz
Sorbian cultural Information Bautzen
Sorbisches Kulturzentrum Schleife
Sorbian cultural centrum Slepo/Schleife
Sorbian National Ensemble
Serbski muzej Budyšin/
Sorbisches Museum Bautzen/
Sorbian Museum Bautzen/Budyšin
Institut za sorabistiku
Institut für Sorabistik
Institute of Sorbian Studies
Föderalistische Union Europäischer Volksgruppen/
Federal Union of European Nationalities
Dokumentations- und Kulturzentrum
YIVO Yiddish Scientific Institute - יִדישער װיסנשאַפֿטלעכער אינסטיטוט
Karsten Troyke - Yiddish Singer - Publisher on Yiddish Music
Młodźina Europskich narodnych skupin/
Jugend Europäischer Volksgruppen/
Youth of European Nationalities
Zeitschrift der katholischen Sorben/
Magazin of the Roman-catholic Sorbs