January 20, 2020
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Imperialism And Other Animals

Imperialism And Other Animals
The World Social Forum (WSF) held in Mumbai last week was not short of jarring notes. The delegates at the WSF doubtless protested against imperialist capitalism, war in Iraq or the Gujarat riots, but while they were at it, several groups also protested against the organisers of the jamboree. Even while the inaugural session was on, the National Disability Network (NDN) held a candlelight protest because the issue of disability was not mentioned in the plenary agenda and the wsf grounds were not disabled-friendly. The organising committee’s efforts to placate them with a statement of regret at the end of the inaugural session didn’t work.

Later in the week, the Dalit Solidarity Peoples held a protest because they say most of the Dalit stalls were intentionally allotted next to toilets. Organisers, however, claimed they had not applied for the stalls in time. Bangalore filmmaker Subhradeep Chakraborty joined in the protests because his documentary Godhra Tak: A Terror Trail was not screened at the forum’s film festival, although it had been selected. The organisers cited a time-squeeze but Chakraborty said he had thought the wsf would provide the right platform for his film to be seen.

Other organisations like the Proutist Universal and Ananda Margis, which were present at the last wsf in Brazil, were reportedly told that their seminars "were not in accordance with the WSF charter". But towards the end, with attendance dwindling, the forum was rocked by the arrest of South African judge Sirajuddin Desai on charges of raping another delegate. While Desai insisted he had been framed in an attempt to make money, Winnie Mandela made a star appearance to meet him in police custody. The case, however, is likely to be dropped.

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