Cell Phone Refugees

Sanctuary Lost: La Forêt de Saoû

During the months before July 2010, more than 100 electrically sensitive people, living in cars and RVs, converged on the Forest of Saoû, the world’s first refuge from electromagnetic radiation. Located in a remote region of the French Alps, this isolated 8-square-mile nature reserve sits in a bowl, almost completely shielded from radio waves by the surrounding cliffs. After arriving here, many of the refugees were able to sleep through the night, and wake up rested and pain-free, for the first time in months or years.

But their respite was short-lived. On July 30, 2010, this convoy of refugees was served with an eviction notice. Ten weeks later, on October 15, under threat of force and assaulted by radio waves from the communication equipment of police and media, the convoy left en masse, bound for an even more remote refuge, just as illegal, within the Regional Natural Park of Vercors. There, at an elevation of 4600 feet, they plan to brave the snows of winter in order to survive.

The land from which they have been evicted is actually owned by Next-Up, an organization founded in 2005 by one of the world’s most prominent researchers into the health and environmental effects of electromagnetic pollution, the late Dr. Roger Santini. In fact, Next-Up was formed with the goal of setting up such radiation-free zones, and it acquired the land in question for that express purpose. But powerful economic interests, who do not want to see EHS given any legitimacy, have ensured that even on its own land, Next-Up was not permitted to carry through this project.

“Although it is a large private ground which is owned by Next-Up,” wrote Michael Heiming, spokesman for the refugees, “there is a strange new law in France (LOPPSI Act) which gives much power to officials and among other things restricts how long you can put a caravan on private ground! Not more than three months on your own ground! Unless you have a special permission by the authorities!”

“This expulsion does not resolve the problem at all,” wrote Next-Up member Serge Sargentini, “because the EHS, treated like pariahs, not having any choice in order to survive, will move in convoy to another eligible zone (without radiation), evidently also classified as a protected nature reserve, but with more difficult living conditions because of its altitude. And they will be shut off by snow during the winter.”

“Will we be chased off again,” wrote the refugees in an October 15 press release, “and to go where?”

The refugees are currently living in an EMF Refuge in France higher in the French Alps.