“Israel Seed”, this how they call the slightly trafficked and patented seeds now sprouting in deepest Anatolia.

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I never tried to find out why the makers of Agent Orange who wreaked havoc in Vietnam – and everywhere else since – find themselves sporting phony noses of a vaguely antisemitic design. Especially since Monsanto is Bayer now, isn’t it? The same Bayer that supplied the gas chambers?

In present-day Turkey, there’s no knowing through which orifice such designations must travel. In any event, this is the label under which it is known…but one that doesn’t appear on any of the official displays.

In the early years of 2000, once could still cross certain Anatolian plains by bus, and receive the impression that, over hundreds of kilometers, one could see the entire history of Turkey’s cereal growing peasantry passing by – from the flail to the harvesting machine…The wheat still seemed clean and organic then, through lack of funds with which to pay for modern chemistry.

I recall the EU looked on askance at the thought of Turkey joining Europe, partly because of those wheat granaries cultivated by dark-skinned peasants.

I reassure you, all that has changed. One Minister of Agriculture had even said: “If we don’t take back the fields from the peasants, agriculture will never move forward.”

I still don’t know how or when Israel got mixed into it. In any case, beautiful Europe got involved back in the days when it was all about supporting Erdoğan, suddenly turned into a European at the opening of this century. Since then, the peasantry has been somewhat reduced and the fields have grown accustomed to pesticides and compulsory “patented” seeds… All right, you know all this by heart already, just as you know the results in your own country. I hear you’re even at the point of conducting scientific measurements of the distances allowable for the spreading of this shit, without disturbing the locals.

But, but, over here, Emine came. The great Emine, the beautiful Emine… Ehhe Ehe… With her scarf and her great Erdoğan of a husband.

And she became the high priestess of “ancestor seeds”. Yes, yes, “ancient seeds, Ottoman seeds. Dearest small turbaned peasants who vote AKP in our countryside, show your solidarity with Ottoman cutlure” she cried, “hand over your hidden seeds, your ancestral seeds, lift the veil off your granaries”… All right, I admit, she didn’t speak quite in those terms, but the result is the same and the true meaning of her words flew right over the heads of the bigoted electorate.

This is how our lovely Ministry of Agricultural Practices managed to grab hold of these ancient stocks and… patent them. Well hey, might as well have everybody make a profit off them, and the vendors first!

So, whether from Israel or Ottoman, buying your seeds is compulsory now. And the fields are well guarded.

The sale and cultivation of local seeds had already been forbidden by the Seed Law promulgated by the AKP regime. And, of course, this law allowed firms to patent these seeds, and forced the peasants to buy them, transforming them into the flunkeys of the agro-industry.

With a little extra help supplied by Emine’s voice, local seeds were harvested by the State and, with many an accomplice participating in seed-bartering festivals organized by NGOs and associations…Not only were they then patented, but the “genetic resource centers” got hold of these seeds very easily. It is an open secret that the big seed monopolies have no trouble acquiring local seeds through these “public genetic resource centers”, linked to State institutions, the only too willing collaborators of the chemical agro-industry supposed to feed the planet. The AKP regime allowed this in a perfectly legal way and without so much as a single raised eyebrow.

As a tiny example, the wheat first cultivated in Mesopotamia ten thousand years ago before spreading across the planet can no longer be cultivated by Anatolian populations…if they don’t first pay their due to the agro-business.

Ah Emine, if you didn’t exist, we would have to invent you!

Of course, as usual, all this is a demonstration of my total bad faith regarding the world and how it turns. Bad seed, that’s me!

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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