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War overshadows anti-globalisation

The activists at WSF 2004 seemed to have made a paradigm shift in their focus - from anti-globalisation to highlighting US aggression, reports Purwa Khandelwal.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2004 20:34 IST

The activists at the World Social Forum (WSF) 2004 in Mumbai on Friday seemed to have made a paradigm shift in their focus - from anti-globalisation to highlighting US aggression, especially in Iraq.

However, speakers who outlined the course of action for the forum insisted that the two issues - globalisation and international aggression - were interlinked.

"In today's world you cannot divide social democracy from political democracy," explained Mustafa Barghouti, spokesman for the Palestinian National Initiative, a coalition for democratic change in the West Bank and Gaza.

Barghouti asserted that human rights couldn't be different for different sets of people, adding that injustice, apartheid and war must stop.

Referring to the unrest in Palestinian, he said, "The struggle there is not against Jews, but for peace." He also likened their struggle with India's struggle for independence.

"The World Social Forum has become a second superpower, may be a better power...It draws its power from you, the people," he said amidst applauses.

Speaking in Arabic, Nobel laureate and Iranian human rights activist Shireen Ebadi said, "We are here to announce our commitment to human dignity. We are here to announce that human suffering from war has no dignity and no future."

Leading figure in the Iraqi representative democratic movement Amir Al Rakabi said he hopped the movement will be helpful for the people of Iraq, adding that he was in Mumbai to discuss about the conflict of Iraqi people against the American occupation.

Jeremy Corbyn, a British parliamentarian, felt the Mumbai chapter of the forum should be a unity between the Third World countries against the World Trade Organisation, International Monetary Fund and US aggressions.

He attributed the collapse of WTO's Cancun summit in Mexico last year to the massive mobilisation of cooperation between Brazil and India.

Said former Vietnamese foreign minister Nguyen Binh, "We have come here to lend support to an equal world where there is social, economic and political equality."

With inputs from IANS

First Published: Jan 16, 2004 19:55 IST