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UPDATE: ‘Damocracy’ opposes Ilisu and Belo Monte dams

Malta-based East to West Communications has produced a 34-minute on-line documentary by film-maker Todd Southgate titled Damocracy. The Times of Malta reports, “The Damocracy film focuses on the cultural and natural heritage the world stands to lose as the foundations of two large-scale dams are being laid despite widespread resistance – the Belo Monte dam in the Amazon, and the Ilisu dam in southeast Turkey.”

The Ilisu Dam
“The Ilisu dam will flood the ancient city of Hasankeyf and the surrounding Tigris Valley, an area that meets nine out of 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites’ criteria. The Turkish Government has consistently refused to apply for Unesco status for the area. Built on the banks of the Tigris in the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia, Hasankeyf is thought to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world, with evidence of settlements dating back 12,000 years. Over 30,000 people will be displaced if the Ilisu dam is built. Its impact will be felt as far as the marshes of Basra in Iraq. Work on the Ilisu dam continues in defiance of court rulings halting the dam, and the withdrawal of funding from European credit agencies in 2009 when the Turkish Government failed to meet almost all the criteria to protect the environment, cultural heritage and local communities.”

The Belo Monte Dam
“In Brazil, Belo Monte’s two reservoirs and canals will flood a total area of 668 square kilometres, of which 400 square kilometres are standing forest. Up to 40,000 residents will be displaced, including 25,000 indigenous people. A permanent drought will be caused on the river’s Big Bend. Scientists fear that the hundreds of dams planned in the Amazon Basin, including the Belo Monte project, may cause the extinction of one-third of all fish species in the area.

Damocracy argues that large-scale dams should not be considered clean energy at all. Interviewed in the film, Philip Fearnside of the National Amazon Research Institute says forests flooded by Belo Monte’s reservoirs would generate enormous quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.”

To watch the film, go here.

Damocracy is also a movement which seeks to unite anti-dam activists around the world. Its founding members are Doga Dernegi, Amazon Watch, International Rivers, RiverWatch, Gota D’agua (Drop of Water) Movement, Instituto Socioambiental, and Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre.

The Blue Planet Project has been speaking against the Ilisu dam since March 2009 and most recently connected with opponents of the dam through a workshop at the World Social Forum in Tunisia. Maude Barlow is a recipient of the Right Livelihood Award and recently a delegation of those who have received this award visited the area of near the Belo Monte dam and expressed their concerns about it. This past March, the Blue Planet Project released a report titled Dam Truths.

For more, please read:
UPDATE: Blue Planet Project at workshop on dams and mines
ACTION ALERT: Protect Mesopotamia from the Ilisu Dam
Ilisu dam opponents arrested at World Water Forum in Turkey
NEWS: Brazil sends troops to Belo Monte dam construction site
Dam Truths: A Compilation of Case Studies About Popular Struggles Against Dams