In Memoriam: Fernando Siebald

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I met him in 2006, when I worked for the Regional Council for Small Fisherman in the Lakes Region and we had just started a decisive fight against the salmon industry. Fernando Siebald was one of the lawyers for the Pumalin Foundation, and there, whenever he could, he would give us some legal advice to help us become more efficient in the fight that had just begun. 
 
He did not believe us much, when Remigo Gutierrez and I went to his offices and boldly told him that we were capable of taking on the entire salmon industry that had set up inside the Tenth Region of the south.  
 
But Fernando bécame closer to us when he started to reduce each idea we had to its minimum expression, under the legal arguments that he exposed to us. Maybe he realized that in truth we wanted to learn, that we wanted to know how to transform into useful tools the evidence that little by little we began to accumulate against this industry. And Fernando loved to teach…
 
The main fight then was again the dams of HidroAysen, at least theoretically. But he was fascinated to see how, with our limited resources, and harrassed already by "un-identified" surveillance and threats, a few dreamers like him began to disarm the media machine and politics of the salmon industry. In 2007 and 2008, Fernando had already confronted two pillars of "growth" in the country: the dams that are not built yet and the industry that was re-floated through the privatization of the southern sea. 
 
From honorary legal adviser, his leap to become a friend did not take more than a few weeks. He knew my many homes in the Tenth Region and watched as my granddaughter, Titi, now called Camila, grew up. But Camila is four-years-old, he only got to know her for four years. 
 
In my homes, Fernando bécame "Uncle No No No," for his frequent corrections to the speech of my granddaughter. For my daughter, Amanda, he was more than a friend, he was her older brother. Their conversations about anarchism or punk music always finished with some advice: “you have to read this..”, “you have to listen to…” 
 
An educated man is always a free man...
 
His visits adorned my houses, the talks were long, flowing cigarettes one after another, trying to find a reason why the scientific evidence was rarely at the same time legal evidence. We never agreed and I never understood that maxim of law that says a bad deal is better than a good trial, despite the efforts of Fer to explain it to me. For me it was like how to ensure that a mitosis was better or worse than a meiosis.
 
But we were the same thing. From the dis-similar specialties that we had, we were the same, fighting against the same thing and for the same thing: against the destruction of the country and for a better world for all the Camila's and Amanda's. The conjunction between law and political ecology, which were confronted in each one of my houses, made a brotherhood: the best of one to get the best for all.
 
We shared various long nights working each one on what we had to do and where it was more efficient to take care of and fight for life. They were not enough, Fer. I still had much to learn from you. 
 
On Tuesday, I called his cell pone. He responded that he was making an ascent of Calbuco Volcano. We agreed to meet in my house on Thursday, when he came down from the mountain. On Wednesday, he suffered an accident and died in the afternoon. 
 
We did not get to meet in my new home, nor share cigarettes, nor engage in the eternal discussion about the “science” that is law and that neither us won, maybe if we could continue talking about the same and using better and new arguments. We could not ask him about Nicole, his girlfriend, who took care of him and protected the last two months of his life and had to travel by bus from Santiago to say goodbye to him, already dead. 
 
Fer, my brother, I will not see you again. He decided to say goodbye to everyone doing what he loved and was most passionate about: mountaineering. He did not believe in heaven, but he will find a surprise. There will arrive our prayers and our gratitude for all the love and concern that he gave us in very sensitive moments for our little family.
 
For Camila, my granddaughter, we had to explain to her that "Uncle No No No" will not come to our new house anymore because he had to travel very far and for a long time. That he had reached new heights, to have other perspectives, another overview about how much remains to be done to transform the world into what he dreamed.
 
El Fer, mi hermano, nos dejó muchas tareas pendientes, mucho que escuchar y leer, mucho que aprender. Las cumpliremos todas.
 
Fer, my brother, you have left us with a lot of pending tasks, a lot to listen to and read, a lot to learn. We will comply with all of them.