Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why Greenpeace Will Not Campaign for Lake Orumieh

Ever since the warning cries by the environmentalists in Iran about the demise of the Lake Orumieh and the crackdown against them by the Islamic Republic, I have been keen to solicit the help of environmental groups around the world. I simply can not accept that the world will sit by and watch a beautiful lake disappear, resulting in catastrophic climate change, major population displacement and loss of wild life. Specially as experts claim the demise of the lake is not environmental and simply the release of water from the 88 dams which have stopped its water supply, at least during the rainfall season, can have immediate effect in reinvigorating the lake’s prospects.

With the above in mind, I started writing to the major environmental groups I knew of, i.e. Friends of the Earth, The UK Green Party and Greenpeace. The first two did not even reply to me, but Greenpeace UK told me to contact Greenpeace International, which I did and this is what Greenpeace International wrote back:
"Dear Potkin Azarmehr,

Thank you for this email. Greenpeace are organized in a geographical manner, and no office would get involved with an issue unless the local office invited them. As there is no Greenpeace office in Iran, the ‘local’ Greenpeace office would be Greenpeace International –

Greenpeace International
Ottho Heldringstraat 5
1066 AZ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 718 2000
Fax: +31 20 718 2002

So what does that mean? Greenpeace will let dictatorships destroy our planet and will only take direct action in democratic countries where doing so is safe? where normal democratic campaigns to persuade voters will also suffice?

Apparently so, as this further correspondence shows:

Hello Potkin,

I’ve checked with Greenpeace International and their response was that as we don’t have any presence in Iran, we don’t want to get involved in an Iranian issue. I appreciate that all you’re asking for is a statement, but we try not to have that sort of limited involvement – we either campaign on something, where we become expert on the issue and have a strategy to change it, or we try to stay clear.

There are reasons for this – we want to make the most effective use of our resources, and so put them all into the four or five issues where we’re focussed.

I’m very sorry to have to disappoint you.

Best of luck,

Graham Thompson
Supporter Services
Greenpeace UK

Which is absolutely pathetic. Even if Greenpeace is unable to take “direct action” inside Iran, because they have no offices in Iran, the Islamic Republic have many representations and centres of interest across Europe and the rest of the world where they can be targeted.

In conclusion what kind of a message does that send to dictatorships who are plundering the environment with impunity? If you want groups like Greenpeace off your back, simply make sure they don’t have a local office.


Winston said...

Greenpeace is a fascist, left wing and anti-freedom organization.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this Potkin - it does seem to confirm my worst fears that Greenpeace and the like are at heart a bunch of wishy washy plebs!

Juniper in the Desert said...


Anonymous said...

A good question for Greenpeace would be: why on earth does it never have an office or presence in countries which really need such activism as that which they CLAIM to provide?

Amir said...

That is disgraceful. Can you imagine if Amnesty operated in the same fashion? The least they can do is to issue a statement - what kind of resources do you need for that? This is the same organisation that chases Japenese whaling ships in the ocean. Does that mean they have an office in the ocean? I'm saddend to read this. What a lame organisation. Shame on them.

Amiya chatterjee said...

Is there a silent conspiracy ? Is that so called peace movoment an agent of the big brothers ?