Today I follow the new shiny thing. The current appearance of how things are, and will, stay the same. But the shiny thing is always transforming. All I can make out is its gleam that glistens like glossed lips and consistently knows how to call to me. I want to lie, steal and cheat to keep that shine. Behind the curtain lies the master waiting. She laughs at our running like scattered squirrels gathering dropped acorns. These acorns become what we have need for them to become with magic and tricks. Our lies purified by our desires.

Titz, Germany is a municipality in the district of Duren in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Zipcode 52445. It’s on the western edge of Germany with easy access to the Netherlands and the Hambach Forest.

This folly blinds me to the emerging change happening all around like the buds of spring upwardly displacing the grip of winter. I take the way cleared by white bulldozers and confidently fall in lock step. A faint sirens call like fog in a periphery from the Buir Station. A path not cleared by shining desires, it leads through the underpass, under the railway, over the two bridges, past an embankment and a few containers in the fields, then turn right behind a small woods. Keep going until I reach the main road.

Hambach Forest (German: Hambacher Wald, Hambacher Forst, Bürgewald, Die Bürge) is an ancient forest located in North Rhine-Westphalia, western Germany, near Buir between Cologne and Aachen. It is planned to be cleared as part of the Hambach surface mine by owner RWE AG. There have been ongoing protests and occupations to prevent this since 2012. Hambach Forest is rich in biodiversity and home to 142 species regarded as important for conservation. The forest has been called “the last remnant of a sylvan ecosystem that has occupied this part of the Rhine River plain between Aachen and Cologne since the end of the last ice age”. Only ten percent of Hambach Forest still remains, and the remaining forest is severely threatened by mining for brown coal.

My body and mind razed, bleached, shaven, purified at every corner advertisement. My ancestors show a clear, straight and sure way that appears to a ready glance as clouded, crooked and unsteady. A rock scramble with no signposts in a storm of fog. I purify my lies with glistening oils, alcohols and self-righteous apples. I lose my way on the rocks and find myself alone. Surrounded by fog, I can only see the step in front of me. (Where did everyone go?) Signs that know my name wield me forward. Soft and pliable the messaging begins to feel that it’s in my veins coursing from the stories of elders and ancestors. I return to my clouded, crooked and unsteady stones. One foot in front of the next looking out for snipers and land mines. I’m not supposed to be in this place that rejects the bleach and embraces the land of elders and self.

On the night of Saturday 27 to Sunday 28 October, four buses of the “Tirtey” bus company were set on fire at Titz near the open-air mine. The damage is estimated to be over 400,000 euros. The incendiary attack was not claimed, but it clearly speaks for itself, in a local context of direct struggle against a coal mining project and repression. This “Tirtey” company is now well known for its collaboration in the lignite mine project in the Hambach forest. This fire has brought to light the role it plays both in promoting this death project but also in terms of repression of the people fighting in the area.

My body flames as I torch what its been told to become. Becoming what I have need for it to become to birth something new. The fire kisses like a summer sun in mangled groves of flowers and silk. Reaching into soil and roots for my ancestors, nothing looks as it is. Magritte’s “this is not a pipe” holds as mantra as I walk with sleeping mask over my eyes to awaken my senses. For nothing is what it seems to be in this world. On the western edge of easy access our lies are made holy for the common good of a few. My hair has been shaved so close it does not grow back. Forest babes say goodbye with eviction notices stapled to nests. Our lies will not be made holy by simplistic and direct control.


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