GB No. 3, winter 1990/91


Beyond the hills far away there is a flat (as shit) country with a few corners which are the only beauty. In this country there are a few parts only which are not ecologically devastated. Last but not least it's a fucking poor country.

But there gathered a group of maniaks trying to fuck up the last cute corner of this country. They aren't going to give any reason why - why they've sunk tremendous amounts of money in their idea and why they're going to continue their paranoidal enterprise. Their answer "We do it cause it's been started", cannot be regarded as a reasonable motive, can it?

Where does it all happen? Its usually nowhere, for example in Poland. There is a great dam being built near Czorsztyn, on the Dunajec river since the middle of the seventies. No aim has been adopted or defined until now - the designers and executors of the building haven't decided yet whether the dam is to provide the southern region of Poland (or just the local area?) with drinking water or to prevent floods (perilous but very rare) or just to be a nice place for yachting and drinking champagne. Of course, these three purposes cannot be realized at the same time. The mischief is that the dam is built on the national park, moreover, at the foot of a gothic/renaissance castle (at Niedzica) and the ruins of a castle at Czorsztyn. Even if it all took place in France on the banks of the Loire, or in Germany on the Rhein (regions fairly abundant in castles), people like the Czorsztyn dam executors would be surely accused guilty of an atrocious crime. But in Poland there can be found so many castles and other historical buildings, that loss of two castles beautifully situated along the river banks would be of no importance, maybe it wouldn't be even noticed. One day those two castles may collapse into a cesspool (i.e. the Czorsztyn reservoir of drinking water, ha! ha!) and one day you may not find the Pieniny mountains cause they will have already been trampled under the foot by so called "tourists" attracted by " the Pieniny Sea" (as some "intelligent" journalists baptized the Czorsztyn reservoir). So what if they're been destroyed? Who cares in Poland?

It's the communist regime who undertook building this dam. The regime's gone (at least officially) but their bad habits have remained. Present authorities attitude is: "Why should we be more merciful for the natural environment than the commies were? It's us who sets the rules. WE are the masters here".

Last summer when I was on my vacation I made a short trip to Czorsztyn & Niedzica. I hadn't thought too much of the dam before, I hadn't imagined what the building could look like, either. So you can picture how I felt when I went there I saw it all from a distance: a vast valley between hills whose slopes were half-covered with forest, half-bare cause the trees had been cut down (we're on the national park area!). As we were crossing this tortured ground the slim walls and towers of Niedzica castle crowning a high hill were gradually appearing. But this view was raped by a concrete wall of a hydroelectric power plant and a huge earth dyke at the foot of the castle. It's a crime to fuck up fairy-tales, isn't it?

Sick of it all (paying lesser attention to other disadvantages of the Czorsztyn dam). I came to Czorsztyn in the end of September to demonstrate my disapproval (or contempt simply). There, gathered in the neighborhood buildings two hundred (approximately) of alike people - we had various motives of protest, but one aim, stopping the building, and we accepted non-violence as the only way of fighting the dam. We sat across the road and to form a human body barricade to prevent huge Volvo lorries from providing the building with gravel and stones. Sometimes we regretted not taking chains with us (so that we could chain ourselves to these repulsive, yellow lorries) or that we weren't good at sabotage like the Greenpeace brigades are cause our efforts to stop the movement on the road were futile in fact.

But the police actions which made in impossible for us to blockade the road, made us stick together. Being conscious of the gap between us and the police we could act more effectively than if we weren't a cohisive group: as soon as a decision to go was made (made in a democratic style) everybody started rushing to the road.

The incompatibility of interests helped us to remember that those cheerful policemen chatting willingly with us and letting the girls go first through the pub's door (after their working hours) have been trained to deal unmercifully with people like us when in service. And they performed their duty perfectly, moreover they really added some extra work to their job. They not only used gave a bloody noses, to cast the demonstrators down a stony, high embankment or to drag brutally along the roadside (anyway, it's their job to get rid of us by all "legal" means) but they also would get engaged emotionally and behave spitefully; abusing the girls (calling a girl whore seemed to be the only way for a policeman to show his superiority, ha! ha!) or beating the weaker demonstrators more often than others. There were at Czorsztyn both "normal" police and political police together with anti-terrorist brigades. Consequently each demonstrator was attended to by several functionaries.

Last but not least I'd like to mention about the opinion and attitude towards our cause of "the man in the street" i.e., the tourists climbing the highest summit of the Pieniny mountains, as it twined out - a very specify type of tourists in fact.

One afternoon myself and two other demonstrators were asking tourists to sign the petition (concerning the Czorsztyn dam) to the government at the foot of the peak. Such actions had been done before (and were done later) at the same place and other touristic sites of the Pieniny region, too. Now what I want to tell you is my (very) personal opinion based on my own experience - I don't claim they're objective or that they describe typical behavior. All I want to tell you is that I was shocked to see the tourists' reactions to our action. People who are expected to love and care about mountains, or at least to reveal some concern in them, totally disregarded the Pieniny mountains future. They didn't know what was going in the mountains close neighborhood, or were happy that the huge water reservoir would completely change the mountains climate (stupid, short-sightedness or lack of imagination?). But what made me most angry was the people's fear of getting involved in anything (a representative answer was: "I don't want to have anything in common with your flyers and petition, please, leave me alone!") of I hadn't met a few reasonable persons I would have lost my heart! I was about to doubt if I'm normal.

Instead of conclusion:

We did a nice piece of work (of rousing people's consciousness), didn't we? But we may not, by no means rest on ours, because the dam is being built while you're reading this.

Monika Matoga

Correction: GB didn't participate in the action against Pieniny dam during the summer 1990. Sorry for mistake!


GB No. 3, winter 1990/91 | Contents