Retro - Not all that glitters is gold

By Christian Block Switch to German for original article

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The Lëtzebuerger Journal is already celebrating its second digital birthday. We have found our place in the media landscape, evolved and are ready for 2023. None of this would be possible without the people who tell us their experiences and perspectives. To mark the occasion, each team member looks back on a story that was particularly meaningful to them this year.

Two farmers and two representatives of the Upper Sûre Nature Park meet near Harlange … What sounds like the beginning of a joke was actually the starting point of an extremely exciting encounter in the reservoir area back in November. Because even if as a journalist you are used to be dealing with different points of view: Apart from round-table discussions, these encounters are not often experienced face-to-face.


This exchange was exciting in several respects. Firstly, because one of the interview partners was the former Laku president who, together with three other farmers, decided to leave the board of Landwirtschaftlech Kooperatioun Uewersauer three years ago – and had a lot to tell. Secondly, because, unlike two current board members, he works conventionally. In addition, other issues are also addressed on such occasions, such as the controversial Agriculture Act, the production and income conditions of agriculture or its reputation …

Last but not least, the exchange was also fruitful because agriculture, nature park and Sebes try to pursue common interests despite sometimes smaller, sometimes larger divergences of opinion and world views – in the sense of drinking water protection, which should be close to everyone's heart as we want to do without Moselle water in the future.

"These examples show why it is essential to constantly question our assumptions about the world."

However, this experiment, finding a middle way, has been fraught with pitfalls and resistance – at least in the past. There was a contradiction between political support for cooperative water protection, which should financially compensate farmers for voluntary measures instead of only imposing bans and requirements on the sector, and its concrete design and implementation, which escalated in 2020 in the aforementioned resignation.

There are many examples of the contradiction between theory and practice, between a political idea and its implementation. In all subject areas. 2022 was an opportunity to address some of these issues, some of the issues that have rarely or never been raised publicly in the Grand Duchy, or that only emerged in the course of research. Such as the lack of transparency surrounding public procurement and the implementation of the 2018 reform with all its full-bodied promises. Or that there are gaps in the accompaniment of people returning from a therapy stay abroad. Or the practice of systematically cutting piglets' tails, which is still widespread in Luxembourg as in Europe – despite the ban.

These examples show why it is essential to constantly question our assumptions about the world. And that journalists need to invest time and presence on the ground (and have the means to do so) to find answers to their questions. Because not all that glitters is gold. Probably the exception still matches the rule.