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Death penalty and aflatoxin

In order to reach the important message about milk, you must disregard all the people who are currently talking about it. Simply put, they are too many; an entire army of experts from various important institutions, a bunch of politically indoctrinated chiefs who are fighting for survival and ratings, accompanied by numerous journalists who have been happily living off of aflatoxin in milk for the past two weeks.

In this case, once again, it is best to take a step back from all obsolete words and give in to the flow of time and the memory of those moments, those breakthroughs, which separated us from nature. I remember how I used to cut wood and light a fire every morning. Then suddenly oil heaters appeared, and then electric heaters, to be followed by heat plants – so finally I forgot all about those natural morning tasks in wintertime. I never felt sorry over the fact that nature was slowly disappearing, and that my environment became almost completely artificial. Contrary to the widespread opinion that it used to be better in the past, because everything was natural, healthy, clean (and came from villages), where the soil yielded its fruits as a reward for the hard work of the peasants, today, we know that this is not true. We know that the less of this genuine nature, the more the food we eat is cleaned from nature. Nature is now prohibited by law to serve its natural products to us. Those times have passed. The more we distance ourselves from nature, the more culture, law, control and technological progress interfere, the closer we are to the bliss of health, and to the knowledge that nature will not and cannot harm us any longer.

Someone living here long enough cannot but rejoice to see how we have progressed, for now – at least with regard to milk, and maybe even other food being purified from harmful substances by the law. As a citizen, I am almost delighted by the fact that Serbia legally adopted the high EU standards, the strictest in the world, according to which the allowed amount to aflatoxin in milk cannot exceed 0.05 micrograms per kilo. I feel almost superior to Americans, because their country allows miserably low standards, and poorer quality of milk, with as much as 0.5 micrograms of aflatoxin per kilo. This means 10 times lower standard than in Serbia. The fact that we are not always capable of implementing the law has been once again confirmed as our biggest problem.

When we become aware of the constant progress from nature to civilizational standards, the question whether we have been poisoned by milk which did not reach the EU standards this year becomes silly. We have been poisoned as much as others, who were not close to the strict EU standards, and the way it used to be before the strict measures were adopted. Thus, it turns out, the more panic is raised; the more positive a view should be taken on the issue. It means that we want what is best, the highest standards, and anything below is unacceptable. I must admit that it is impressive how many people, experts and non-experts alike, care about high standards. It is a great step forward. We have raised the bar very high. In the majority of EU countries it is not allowed to have any alcohol in the blood while driving – the standard is 0.0. We in Serbia are lagging in this regard – we can still legally drink a little and drive. But, looking at how we are reaching for the stars, this will also become equal: 0.0% of alcohol in the blood and 0.0 aflatoxin in milk.

This trend – from nature to civilization, is celebrating a great achievement in our country today. We are marking a highly important anniversary. Exactly 11 years ago, on February 26, 2002, the government led by Zoran Djindjic proposed, and the National Assembly adopted, the law which abolished the death sentence in Serbia. The negation of the natural perception of the ordinary citizen of revenge: if you kill you will be punished in the same way – was the condition to become a member of the Council of Europe. In this case, we also bravely defeated nature. We started cleverly – from abolishing the death penalty, which happened a while ago, and somehow, with much struggle, we have reached the abolishment of aflatoxin in milk. But many people are still skeptical whether this is the road to be followed. They say that they are waiting for a life-changing event, something that can be seen with the naked eye, and, until that happens, there is nothing, and this Europe means nothing. This level of skepticism somehow does not correspond to the level of noise in the case of milk. Maybe this inconsistency is natural, but it is certainly illogical.

Translated by Bojana Obradovic

Peščanik.net, 04.03.2013.

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Vesna Pešić, političarka, borkinja za ljudska prava i antiratna aktivistkinja, sociološkinja. Diplomirala na Filozofskom fakultetu u Beogradu, doktorirala na Pravnom, radila u Institutu za društvene nauke i Institutu za filozofiju i društvenu teoriju, bila profesorka sociologije. Od 70-ih pripada peticionaškom pokretu, 1982. bila zatvarana sa grupom disidenata. 1985. osnivačica Jugoslovenskog helsinškog komiteta. 1989. članica Udruženja za jugoslovensku demokratsku inicijativu. 1991. članica Evropskog pokreta u Jugoslaviji. 1991. osniva Centar za antiratnu akciju, prvu mirovnu organizaciju u Srbiji. 1992-1999. osnivačica i predsednica Građanskog saveza Srbije (GSS), nastalog ujedinjenjem Republikanskog kluba i Reformske stranke, sukcesora Saveza reformskih snaga Jugoslavije Ante Markovića. 1993-1997. jedna od vođa Koalicije Zajedno (sa Zoranom Đinđićem i Vukom Draškovićem). 2001-2005. ambasadorka SR Jugoslavije, pa SCG u Meksiku. Posle gašenja GSS 2007, njegovim prelaskom u Liberalno-demokratsku partiju (LDP), do 2011. predsednica Političkog saveta LDP-a, kada napušta ovu partiju. Narodna poslanica (1993-1997, 2007-2012).