20 March 2014

[Note: Parwen Aziz is a Kurdish woman living in Iraqi
Kurdistan.  She is currently participating
in the first CPT training in Iraqi Kurdistan.  She knows firsthand the effects of governments exploiting
villagers in the quest  for oil revenue.  She wrote this reflection after a role-play depicting the
consequences for Colombian farmers when large corporations take their
traditional farmland to plant oil palms, which can produce alternative fuel sources
for automobiles. ]

Damn Tree
The cycle of life has been reversed.  Trees defeat the earth.  I do not like to say your name, Oil Palm.  Scents of gunpowder and pictures of
distressed mothers because of a damn tree.  When I first heard your name and learned how your fruit
could be squeezed and the juice used as a replacement for petroleum oil, I
rushed to interrupt my teacher.  “How can we bring this tree to Kurdistan?”
 I wondered.  I wanted the response to be that we
could import this miraculous tree to our country.  I wanted this to be a substitute for oil so that all warfare,
extermination, and destruction over the black substance will not happen to
humankind ever again.  But, alas,
all my dreams and imaginations were destroyed when I perceived that this tree caused
just as much destruction.  This
damn tree causes thousands of Colombian families to become fugitives from their
homes.  Thousands of families have become low-paid workers in their own

I became depressed when I heard a story of a widow with her son.  They were working in the heat for three
months, planting, tending, and harvesting their corn.  All their efforts were fruitless and
wasted.  Someone set the pile of
corn on fire and the products were burned.  They were left with nothing to feed the children.  I heard her say, “Take as many pictures
as you can, take photos of everything here so that the whole world will know of
what happened to us.”  War and oppression pivots around corrupt
governments and capitalism.  The
core point is that the capitalists get a lot of money and they become rich and
richer, while the workers and needy people remain poor and disappointed.

See the letter the community of
Las Pavas wrote to Colombian President Santos
this week regarding attacks on
their community by palm oil company security guards.


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