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Dr. Vandava Shiva Responds to New Yorker’s Smear Campaign

Posted by on Mar 4, 2015

Dr. Vandana ShivaOne of the most notable, and outspoken champions for non-GMO farming practices, seed saving, and food sovereignty for the people of the world has been subject to a vile smear campaign led by Conde Naste who owns the New Yorker, GQ Magazine, and Bon Appetite. The mega-publishing company has made it their personal quest to defame her, and her tour de force action against biotech maneuvers against the planet. No matter, in her own eloquently powerful prose, Shiva responds to this attack in an open letter.

Dr. Vandava Shiva has been featured in documentary films, thousands of blog posts, and even has her own non-profit agency which saves heirloom, organic seeds for the benefit of farmers in India – the same country which has seen devastating farmer suicides due to Monsanto’s agricultural practices. She has written copiously on the subject to the benefit of non-GMO activists everywhere. Her website, Seed Freedom, is dedicated to educating farmers and consumers in sustainable farming practices so that biotech doesn’t gain the upper hand. She exposes truths like this one as quickly as GM super weeds sprout:

“Industrial agriculture has been the dominant paradigm over the past century in the Western world, and half a century in India, since the introduction of the Green Revolution. This paradigm has its roots in war. The technology of synthetic fertilizers comes from the technology used during the war for producing explosives. Pesticides such as nerve gases were first used in concentration camps and later as war chemicals. The disappearance of bees and pollinators is a consequence of this war against the bugs. The disappearance of nutritious biodiversity such as amaranth greens and chenopodium is the consequence of the war against weeds with weedicides and herbicides. Genetic engineering is the latest technology offered in the old paradigm of agriculture as war against the earth. And instead of controlling pests and weeds, it has led to the emergence of superpests and superweeds.

This industrial system goes hand in hand with monocultures, and the output of a monoculture is measured in terms of yield per acre. What is never specified is yield of what and at what cost.”

It is no wonder that “Con Nasty” wants to get rid of her. In just one of their attempts to smear her credibility, writer Michael Specter wrote an article titled “Seeds of Doubt” in the New Yorker. The writer accurately portrays her as a one-woman show against biotech influence:

“Shiva delivered a message that she has honed for nearly three decades: by engineering, patenting, and transforming seeds into costly packets of intellectual property, multinational corporations such as Monsanto, with considerable assistance from the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the United States government, and even philanthropies like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are attempting to impose “food totalitarianism” on the world.

However, the article goes on to question her means, saying that she “has a flair for incendiary analogies.,” as well as her evenness: “. . . Shiva cannot tolerate any group that endorses the use of genetic engineering in agriculture, no matter what else the organization does, or how qualified its support.” She is called an absolutist as well. Specter writes:

“She dismisses the American scientific organizations responsible for regulating genetically modified products, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States Department of Agriculture, as little more than tools of the international seed conglomerates.”

Aside from the fact that she is righter than rain on this point, she has also been attacked professionally in regard to her credentials. Her bio states that she was trained as a quantum physicist before she became an activist, and Specter rudely asserts that Shiva “refers to her scientific credentials in almost every appearance,” but then he questions if she ever worked in the field.

Taking notes, its seems from Gordon Conway, the former president of the Rockefeller Foundation and a professor at London’s Imperial College, who states:

“It is absolutely remarkable to me how Vandana Shiva is able to get away with saying whatever people want to hear.”

Vandana Shiva’s response makes me proud to be an activist, myself, in the GMO debate. In no uncertain terms, but with the decorum of a well-educated woman she counters:

“It would be convenient in the narrative that Specter attempts to weave, to make this exercise look like a joyride of ‘unscientific people on a “pilgrimage”’. Writing about the European governments, universities and movements accurately would not suit Specter’s intention because the strong resistance (including from governments) to GMOs in Europe is based on science.

My education doesn’t suit his narrative either: a Ph.D. on the ‘Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory’. Specter has reduced my M.Sc. Honors in Physics to a B.Sc. for convenience.  Mr. Specter and the Biotech Industry (and The New Yorker, by association) would like to identify the millions of people opposing GMOs as unscientific, romantic, outliers. My education is obviously a thorn in their side.”

The manner in which she defends herself, and the non-GMO stance exemplifies how TRUTH finds its way, even against the sordid backdrop of mainstream media propaganda, and the thuggish ways of biotech to distort, minimize, and turn on its head, valid arguments, both scientific and experiential, the reasons to ban genetically modified organisms, and their chemical herbicides and pesticides evermore.

You can read Shiva’s full response here, and I urge you to read it, share it, and stand up for a champion of the REAL food movement.





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