Pakistan -- March 30 2006 -- Thursday -- Safar 29, 1427
‘No let-up in global struggle for peace’
By Arman Sabir
KARACHI, March 29: The six-day World Social Forum 2006 concluded here on Wednesday with the determination to continue the struggle for global peace and people’s progress.
The forum was attended by nearly 40,000 delegates from 46 countries.
At the concluding session, some delegates spoke about their experience of the WSF 2006. A song, dedicated to the WSF, written by William Pervez and sung by Nayyara Noor, was played on the occasion and groups from Rajasthan, Balochistan, and Palestine performed folk songs.
The ceremony was held in the KMC Sports Complex’s stadium where tents had been erected for the participants. A part of the celeberations was marred by a power breakdown which affected the improvised ventilation system. However, most of the people braved the ordeal.
Secretary of the Pakistan chapter of the WSF Irfan Mufti said that the six-day forum had made an impact and sent its message to Washington and other parts of the world.
“We will create a new world of peace and prosperity and the struggle will continue until our goal is achieved,” he said.
Ms Wahu Kaar, member of the WSF International Organising Committee, announced that the next WSF would be held in Nairobi, Kenya.
She said that the struggle for alleviating poverty and against the exclusion of the majority of the global population from decision-making would continue, adding that the spirit to survive was evident everywhere, be it Karachi or Nairobi. “The struggle has to continue and the process of finding solutions will now find a new venue.” She concluded with a note of thanks for organisers of the WSF in Karachi.
Social worker Jaya Singh from India said she enjoyed her stay in Karachi and thanked the people of Pakistan for “their hospitality and warmth towards Indians”.
She said she was disappointed that a lot of people, who had been planning to come to Karachi, could not make it because of visa problems. “However, I am glad that I am here, and my perception about Pakistan has changed.” She said that she was nervous before leaving for Karachi because of the negative image of Pakistan in India. “Now I can go back to India with a better image of Pakistan,” Ms Singh said.
Malathy Apputhurai from Sri Lanka termed the WSF the voice of the weak and the poor and said: “We have to strengthen this movement for a better world.”
J.P. Dardaud, president of the Freres des Hommes of France, said: “The pressure that the civil society is confronted with is the state suppression. It is too difficult to survive under these circumstances and here I see so much vibrancy. I get the impression that (the society here) is very robust. Compared to you, ours is quite dull. I’ve seen many events in the whole word but the enthusiasm and the zeal that the people here have is absolutely marvellous.”
Caoiwhe Butterly, an Irish citizen working with trade unions in Palestine and Iraq, said: “I am completely overwhelmed by the experience. I know how moved and inspired our Iraqi comrades would’ve been if they could have been here and seen how the Pakistani people are vehemently supporting our causes.”
Over the past six days, various plenary sessions, seminars and discussions were held on topics ranging from the Kashmir conflict to the political and socio-economic situation in the region. Heated debates were held on key issues like political and economic rights, gender discrimination and bonded labour.
Political leaders from both the parts of Kashmir and social activists, mediapersons and educationists were invited to deliberate on the conflict with a realistic and objective approach.
The participants rejected globalization and unanimously resolved to resist global imperialist forces to foil their designs for global colonisation. In this context, the US policy, especially on Iraq, Iran, Palestine and Afghanistan came under severe criticism.
A large number of local and foreign delegates took interest in the issue of demilitarisation, nuclear capability, war on terror, global militancy and freedom movements, global water crisis, operations in Balochistan and Waziristan, climate change, women’s and children’s rights, HIV/Aids and other health-related topics. Debates were also held on issues like education, freedom of expression, rights of peasants, labourers and fishermen and the role of socialism and communism in the present geo-political situation.