In a time of unexpected challenges, of course we’re still a diverse group with different opinions and priorities. Therefore it’s obviously impossible for each paragraph of this text to speak for every person in the occupation. We continue to work on the greatest possible consensus and inclusion.
The pandemic, which currently costs thousands of human lives a day, has fundamentally changed everyday and public life around the world. In contrast, the way we live in the forest occupation has only changed slightly. Most of our visitors keep a safety distance, we still live here together as a group so as not to be so lonely, and most of us are young enough not to seriously worry about our own health.
But of course the pandemic doesn’t leave us unmoved. Our youth is a privilege, especially in these times. This privilege gives us responsibility to adapt our behaviour out of solidarity to the extraordinary circumstances, (even if we are not quite selfishly scared of being infected.)
That is why people in the occupation have worked out this list of appeals:
* For the time being, please leave the occupation only by necessity.
* To observe ourselves closely for the typical symptoms of corona and let the group know immediately if they occur. If a significant number of us have symptoms, it can be assumed that we may all be infected and we should then start an appropriate quarantine.
* If you have urgent reasons to leave, please leave contact details in the occupation. (If you have any security concerns, you might set up a disposable email for the purpose.) So we can contact you if we see any signs of corona after you leave, and you can act accordingly.
* We ask people who want to visit us to think carefully about it, because every trip poses a risk of spreading the virus, even if you never have any symptoms. If you introduce the virus to us, we would feel under pressure to start a quarantine, which would make occupation life significantly harder.
* We cannot prevent anyone from coming, and still want this campaign to safeguard forests and limit detrimental construction to gather force. If you plan to come, please make sure to get in touch beforehand. In case we would currently consider the risk of infection to be relatively high within the occupation, it would feel important to us to able to let you know about that – and in that case we would find it irresponsible to welcome you here at this moment in time.
* We would prefer you to stay for a while rather than just a night – and if in doubt of a corona arisal until the end of our collective quarantine.
* In the event that you have not already done so, please read carefully about the disease, its effects, its incubation period, and what that might mean for you. Look at it this way: If you had the realistic risk of being infected with HIV, you would (hopefully) also take the preventative measures – and HIV is currently less dangerous for most people in Europe, than corona is for older and previously ill people.
* It is entirely possible to continue to be politically active and networked during this crisis in a responsible way that protecs the health and lives of others. But a precondition for that is to make yourself informed.
It is a problem that health systems around the world (and also in Germany) have suffered so many cuts for decades that most people working there permanently reach their performance limits even during normal operation. This is also a reason that an illness, which in most cases could be treated well, means such drastic measures for entire societies.
It is a problem that fear of illness monopolizes all social attention. What is going on with the topics that interested us before corona? For example, does anyone still care how refugees are at the EU’s external borders? Because of quarantine regulations, humanitarian supporters are prevented from arriving and are effectively prevented from doing their vital work. This makes the already catastrophic conditions on site even more unbearable, and even more invisible to the European public – which as it seems is only concerned about itself.
It is creepy how blatantly freedom rights are curtailed worldwide and that most people just nod and say thank you. Everything happens for a reason, but it remains eerie. These freedoms have been fought for for centuries with a lot of sweat and blood. And it is far from certain that after the acute crisis has ended we will get back the same relative freedom that we previously enjoyed.
In summary, the corona crisis is political, from front to back. And it is precisely in such a crisis that we have to remain alert and active as resistance and protest movements. It’s difficult, but that’s why it’s all the more important. When no one is looking, the powerful around the world like to pass the ugliest laws, and if they do, we should be ready to call them out and act.
Nevertheless, many of us have an urgent wish that some facts are consensus in the occupation: that this crisis is real, that this disease kills en masse, that our behavior can have something to do with the survival of others, and that all of this has a lot to do with ageist, ableist, racist and other privileges.
We hope you get through the crisis well. Keep your spirits high, keep on fighting and stay healthy.