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Sunday, January 23, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
SEVENTEENTH WORLD FESTIVAL OF YOUTH & STUDENTS : BUILD STIFFER RESISTANCE AGAINST IMPERIALISM - Tapas Sinha
THE seventeenth world festival of youth and students was held in Johannesburg, South Africa from December 13-21, 2010. The slogan for this year's festival was “Let's defeat Imperialism, for a World of Peace, Solidarity and Social Transformation”. The festival began in a grand opening extravaganza at Lucas Master Peace Morip Stadium, inaugurated by Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa. The legendary anti apartheid leader and former South African president Nelson Mandela was invited by the WFDY to the inaugural ceremony. However due to advancing age and ill health, he had expressed his inability to do so but sent his best wishes for the festival to a delegation consisting of WFDY president Tiego Vera, general secretary Jeasus Mora, vice president Omar and coordinator of the Asia and Pacific regional centre, Tapas Sinha when they went to meet him on December 9, 2010.
The seventeenth world festival began with the South African National Anthem and flag hoisting. With the 17 guns salute, the festival was declared open by Jacob Zuma. Immediately thereafter, five planes rushed from the other side of the stadium and sprayed the sky above in various colours. Beneath, on the stadium, the folk dancers performed various folk dances of South Africa. Thereafter, the march past took place wherein almost 500 delegates participated, holding aloft their respective national flags. The march past was followed by a parade by the South African defence forces. The general secretary of WFDY then read out the messages of Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela. WFDY president Tiego Vora and South African president Jacob Zuma in their addresses urged the delegates to build up stiffer resistance world over against imperialism. This was followed by dazzling display of fireworks and performances by renowned performers.
The second day was marked as Africa Day and various political dialogues were organised. Discussion on peace, unity, integrity and intensifying struggles against imperialism took place on that day. A conference on right to gather information on honorary education, science culture was also organised in Swane Event Centre in Pretoria.
The third day of the festival was marked as Latin America Day. The festival waltzed with the tune of Latin America for the whole day. The Latin American youths were felicitated in a colourful function. The plenary discussed the multifaceted aggression of the imperialism led by the US forces that is being unleashed over the whole of Latin America. Along with the narration of horror stories, came out how deepened, the resistance and movements against the exploitation of imperialism throughout Latin America are, in tandem with the struggle against the misrule of the local leadership in those countries.
The joint tentacles of capitalism and imperialism are not idle either. There has been a concerted effort on their part to divert the class struggle to other ways by these forces. These came out during the discussions held on the occasion of South Africa Day in the festival. Speakers after speakers dealt in detail how media and other weapons are used constantly by these forces to blunt the class nature of the anti imperialist struggles in South Africa. In these efforts, paid intellectuals are also playing their part with full enthusiasm in order to establish a post socialist global order under US hegemony. Speakers from all the corners of the world touched upon the history of anti apartheid movement of South Africa.
The fifth day of the festival was marked as Asia Day. That, along with two conferences, seven seminars and four different workshops took place. Among the conferences, the main one was about the economic crisis of the capitalism. Apart from that, workshops on Palestine, Bhopal gas tragedy, privatisation of education, building socialism in Vietnam were the major events. Various cultural programmes showcasing the South African cultural heritage were organised and the hundred fiftieth birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore was also celebrated during the day. Another interesting part of the festival has been the multicultural exhibition that was held on the occasion of the festival. Artefacts and souvenirs from all over the world were displayed and sold on the occasion. The Indian delegation on that day exchanged views with delegates from USA, Spain, Angola, Sri Lanka and Greece.
The sixth day was celebrated as Europe Day. On that day two conferences, six seminars, five workshops and two solidarity forums were organised. While DYFI leader Aparna Banerjee spoke in the Cuba Solidarity forum, Ritabrata Banerjee spoke in the conference on crisis of capitalism. Sudipta Bagchi spoke in the seminar organised on the challenges faced by the youth movement and organisations. Vishwanath Gupta spoke on the role of youth in eliminating illiteracy. Tapas Sinha spoke in the conference on the conditions prevailing in the erstwhile socialist countries and the role of youth.
The seventh day of the festival was celebrated as Middle-East Day. Speaking in a seminar on the solidarity with the struggle of Palestinians against Israeli occupation, the Indian speakers conveyed the solidarity of the Indian people with the just struggle of self determination of the Palestinian people. They reiterated that it is the US which is responsible for the inhuman suppression of the rights of the Palestinian people. It is clear that Israel is a military base of the US in the area which it uses to tighten its influence over whole of Middle East. The main attraction of the seventh day of the festival was the public tribunal against imperialist aggression. Tapas Sinha demanded the conviction of Warren Anderson and others in the Bhopal gas tragedy. The US was charged in many cases including the carpet bombing of Lebanon. Aleida Guevara, daughter of Che Guevara opened an exhibition on Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro at Pretoria Museum.
The eight day was celebrated as Friendship Day. On that day, the anti-imperialist tribunal convicted the US led imperialism as the number one enemy of the world. It was the last day of conferences, seminars and workshops. Crowds swelled at the anti-imperialist tribunal to hear its verdict since morning, but it took the whole day to preset the case against the US led imperialism. A conference was organised to commemorate the 65th anniversary of WFDY highlighting its struggles and achievements. Another seminar was organised in the Western Theatre on the role of youth in local governance. Tapas Sinha chaired the session.
On the ninth day, the curtains closed down on the seventeenth world festival of youth and students, thus creating history. A huge rally was organised in Pretoria which began at Churches Square and culminated in the lawns in front of the Union Building, five kilometres away. The rally shouted slogans and displayed banners, placards and posters against imperialism led by the members of the international organising committee of the world festival of youth and students. On reaching the Union Hall lawns, the South African National Anthem was sung and thereafter the final declaration of the seventeenth world festival of youth and students was read out by the president of WFDY Tiego Vora. The delegates and others present in the rally cheered and adopted the declaration. This was followed by cultural performances by the renowned South African artists and artists from other countries including India.