LALIT’s Labour Day gathering at GRNW was a festive and yet thought-provoking occasion. With speeches, music, poems, video clips and shared food, it could not have been a happier occasion. Brilliantly presided by Alain Ah-Vee and Anne-Marie Joly, the entire event ran smoothly in a spirit of informality. The total absence of the kind of macho behavior so typical of other May Day rallies, made the event even more pleasant. Members and their families from all over the country were present – from Chamouny to Riche Terre, from St Pierre to Rose- Belle, city people and country people all joined in to share the celebration of “labour”.
Being slap in the middle of the financial crisis around the BAI, speeches managed to link the profound meaning of “Labour” to the present collapse of part of Mauritius’ finance-capital sector. With the theme of “Creating jobs in the spirit of a new kind of economy and of internationalism,” Rajni Lallah addressed the deep economic crisis, and not just the financial debacle. Poems read by Indranee, Begum and Sarah, all celebrated the power of Labour in different ways, and like the International sung at the end, spoke of victory against the powers-that-be. Alain and Marousia’s music was evocative, as was the classical guitar of another Alain, and a song by Veena. Emilie’s film-clip on Lalit was enjoyed by everyone, and will be on Youtube (lalit mauritius channel) any minute now. The Asher and Grace film on an alternative economy, around the collapse of sugar, though launched in 2007 was re-projected, so up-to-date has it remained. Children present were enchanted by the LPT publication with Ti Bato Papye in 55 Languages, which Alain Fanchon (a fourth Alain in the line-up!); they sat at low tables, poring over the different scripts, and ran their fingers along the Braille version, having never actually touched a Braille page before. The Mauritian Sign Language DVD was also projected.
Warm messages were read from organizations that LALIT has links with in Australia, the UK, Re-union, France, Pakistan, Sweden and the US.