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Let Iraqis control Iraq: Social Forum

The fourth World Social Forum opened here on Friday with a call to end the "American occupation of Iraq" and restore that country's control to its people.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2004 02:20 IST

The fourth World Social Forum opened here on Friday with a call to end the "American occupation of Iraq" and restore that country's control to its people.

Arundhati Roy set the tone for the evening, stressing that it was not enough to express solidarity with Iraqi people. Calling for direct action against the US, which had entered Iraq for its imperialist interests, she said: "Let's us decide here in Mumbai to identify at least two American corporations which have benefited from Iraq's destruction, and force them to shut down operations."

Other speakers, including Iranian Nobel peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi, Ahmed Ben Bella (Algeria), Abdul Amir Al Rekaby (Iraq), Chico Whitaker (Brazil), Jeremy Corbyn (UK), Mustafa Barghouti (Palestine), and Captain Lakshmi Sehgal — who chaired the session — threw their weight behind Arundhati's appeal, and called upon the over 1 lakh gathering to work for the establishment of a new world order based of democratic values, justice and equality.

Over the next five days, over 1500 seminars and workshops are scheduled to be held here, besides scores of street plays, movie shows, and exhibitions of photos and posters.

Delegates from over 150 countries would discuss subjects ranging from the impact of globalisation to women's issues to problems of indigenous communities and the physically challenged.

First Published: Jan 17, 2004 02:20 IST