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When I read “Bangladesh formally started the cultivation of the country’s first genetically modified (GM) crop–Bt Brinjal today”, the word that blurted out was “innalilla’. An Arabic word usually uttered when a very bad news has been delivered. Then I read about it more and lo and behold this elaborate scheme to pollute the food system is indeed a handiwork of Monstanto.GMO is BAD news. Monsanto is VERY BAD news.

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Monsanto is the corporation that conceived and implemented the concept of patenting seeds, genetically modified(GM) seeds. As farfetched as it seems, Monsanto uses genetic engineering in an effort to control world’s agriculture and food supply. This is the same Monsanto that declared “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible”. Monsanto is the company that claimed products like PCB or agent orange or DDT are safe that were used later in herbicidal warfare or banned as persistent organic pollutants. Remember the mass farmers’ suicide in India? It was Monsanto. Here’s a simplified pictogram  describing Monsanto’s intricate scheme, as clearly as I could gather:

monsanto saba

Unleashing GM crops is like releasing dye in water. It is virtually impossible to retract. There has not been enough study to fully grasp the impact of GMO on the food system, on the environment and on the animals. Every independent study conducted on GM food shows that it damages organs, causes infertility, immune system failure, multiple organ system failure, allergic response, impaired digestion, and damage to the intestinal wall. Being a nation that regularly consumes Formalin as veggie wash or tissue paper in Mishti, we may not budge at these results but the self-determining side would definitely be stirred. It would be very hard to get unbiased information once Monsanto secures its grip by infiltrating the government, the policymakers, the media. Citizens will be denied the right to know (and therefore choose) which crop/vegetable is GMO. We will be denied the right to grow other non-Monsanto, non-GMO varieties of Brinjals at the ground of patent infringement due to eventual  but inevitable contamination through cross pollination. We will lose the vast selection of heirloom Brinjals that currently adorns Kacha Bazaar. It will  undermine local practice and knowledge that form the craft part of the profession when farmers are forced to buy seed from Monsanto. GMO and their accompanying chemicals destroy the biodiversity of an area (like ever declining numbers of Monarch butterflies) , deplete the soil of all the nutrition and generally cause havoc in the local ecosystem. We will lose the export market in Europe since Europe declared a ban on GMO. If we let this debate slide, sure enough the class warfare will manifest even in vegetables. We will divide the food system as GMO-non GMO or organic and conventional/ inorganic, turning ‘non-GMO’ or ‘organic’ into exotic labels. The rich would buy the non-GMO and ‘organic’ produce and the poor would pick up the systemic slack.

Austria,Bulgaria,Germany,Greece,Hungary,Ireland,Japan,Luxembourg, Peru, Russia, New-Zealand, France, Switzerland,Ethiopia,Zambia have banned Monsanto. Hawaii is restricting GMO crop. Hungary is burning down GMO crop.North American citizens are fighting for their right to know when a crop is GMO. Why should we walk backwards following North America’s corrupt food policy?

I’m no food and agriculture expert and that is precisely why I intend to get involved. 8 years in North America has taught a thing or two about GMO and the fact that issue like this needs citizen involvement at all levels. This is not only BELA or Ubinig‘s problem. This is a problem of everybody who has ever consumed food. The crisis does not begin with Monsanto and its BT-Brinjal. It begins when we stop caring about where our food comes from.

To Learn more,watch: Seeds of Death,Food Inc,A great article on Dhaka Tribune, and just to take the edge off Bill Maher on GMO

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