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LALIT member in War Resisters' Conference in India

21.01.2010


One of LALIT's leading members, Alain Ah-Vee, is in India for the Conference against War being held from today 22 January 2010 in Ahmedabad, and which is organized by the War Resisters International together with anti-war organizations in India.

The conference will be opened today with speeches by activist and novelist, Arundhati Roy and renowned intellectual, Ashish Nandy.

Tomorrow Alain Ah-Vee will be amongst those presenting papers on military bases; he will concentrate on Diego Garcia, its effects on the people who were living there, on carving up territory as an illegal condition for Mauritian Independence, and on the struggle to get the base closed down.

People will be coming from some 30 countries. Most are to stay at a University campus, while others will stay with local organizations involved in hosting the conference, including Gandhian organizations and the Institute for Total Revolution.

Alain Ah-Vee will be staying with the family of one of the members of one of these organizations.

After arriving by air in Mumbai yesterday, he and six other participants arriving on the same day, together got themselves to the Rail Station to take the five-hour train journey to Ahmedabad.

The main aim of the Conference to link the anti-war movement with the livelihood of people and groups of people. This includes the displacement, dis-employment, and dispossession of people in relative small local conflicts, and also the monstrous international wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Congo, Somalia, and identifying the links between the wars, while building alliances that are both local and global at the same time. The aim is to both resist war, expose profiteering, oppose military bases, on the one hand, and also create and care for livelihoods of people, on the other.

PROGRAMME
DAY 1: OPENING SESSION
Welcome from Sudershan Iyengar, vice-chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith.
Speakers: Arundhati Roy and Ashish Nandy

a) "Here is the News":
* Audiovisual Message from WRI activists on the Free Gaza March
* Introduction to "newspaper theatre"

DAY 2:
DISPLACEMENT, "DEVELOPMENT" AND MILITARISM
MORNING SESSION
a) "Here is the News" - 10 minutes
b) Introduction to the "Reflectors" - 5 minutes
Mining - threat to community, fuel for war
Speaker: Samarendra Das on mining in Orissa
Commentator: Elavie Ndura from Burundi/USA

AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS
Mining fuel for war (following up morning session): Samarendra Das, Felix Padel and Mines, Minerals & People
Displacement and indigenous communities: Firu of Rompiendo Filas on Mapuches in Chile, Nandini Oza & Shripad Dharmadhikari of Save Narmada Movement in India and Rosa Moiwend of West Papua
Displacement of people and land issues due to wars and local people`s struggle: Saibou Issa of Cameroon
Military bases and displacement: Wilbert van der Zeijden Coordinator of No Bases Network, Xavier Leon of the campaign against the Manta base in Ecuador, Park Kyung Soo on resistances to military bases in South Korea, Alain Ah-Vee of LALIT in Mauritius, Ulrike Laubenthal and Hans-Peter Laubenthal of the campaign against Bombodrom in Germany, Peter Jones and military bases in the pacific
Violence against Regional Identities (Jammu & Kashmir, North East of India.): Abdul Quadir Dar of Peoples Rights Movemment in Kashmir
Military recruitment: exploiting the vulnerable: Andreas Speck
"What does the War on Terror mean for social movements": Jorgen Johansen
Women and development-induced displacement: Bela Bhatia India and Adriana Castaño Colombia
Military spending versus Sustainable peace with a special focus on South Asia: Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan
Disarmament - small arms and armed rebel groups: Subhash Kattel South Asia Peace Alliance in Nepal, Boro Kitanoski Peace Action in Macedonia and Gunvant Govindjee of the Cease Fire Campaign in South Africa

DAY 3: NON-VIOLENT RESISTANCE FROM LOCAL COMMUNITIES
MORNING SESSION
a) Here is the News - 10 minutes
b) Reflectors - 25 minutes (5 x 5 mins)
Nonviolent struggles for land
Speaker: Maguiorina Balbuena - CONAMURI/Via Campesina Paraguay
Commentator: P.V. Rajagopal from the Indian landless movement Ekta Parishad

14.30: AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS
Workshops:
India - the struggle for land rights (following up morning session): P.V. Rajagopal
Militarism and energy development projects in Latin America: Rafael Uzcategui (Venezuela), Silvana Lafuente (Bolivia), Firu (Chile), Pelao Carvallo (Chile/Paraguay) and Xavier Leon (Ecuador)
Constructive work and sustainable living as nonviolent resistance focus: food sovereignty Kapil (jatan trust) and Karuna (Samvad)
Another development vs. overdevelopment: Mozda Collective
NATO - Resistance to a globalising NATO: Andreas Speck (WRI) and Carlos Barranco (AA-MOC in the state of Spain)
Peace issues in Western and Central Africa: Saibou Issa
Resisting Zionism: non-violent resistance in Palestine and war resistance in Israel: Hitham Kayali and Sergeiy Sandler of New Profile in Israel
Gandhian Guides for Action: Michael Sonnleitner and Gujarat Vidyapith Peace Research Department
Towards nonviolent livelihoods: class, peace and conversion: Milan Rai
The essence of a strategic perspective on nonviolent struggle: Vanessa Ortiz of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) and Cynthia Boaz (ICNC).

DAY 4: FORMING TRANSNATIONAL ALLIANCES
MORNING SESSION
a) Here is the News - 10 minutes
b) Reflections on Day 3 - 25 minutes (5 x 5)
Building transnational alliances
Speaker: Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan
Workshops:
Transnational campaigning against war profiteering - making links with the arms trade movement (ENAAT) and the local communities: Wendela de Vries of the Campaign Against Arms Trade in the Netherland
The role of nonviolent accompaniment in supporting the return of displaced communities: Christine Schweitzer and Eric Bachman
Nationalism and the anti fascist movement: Olga Miryasova of Russia, Helena Rill of Serbia and Boro Kitanoski of Macedonia
India as a nuclear military power and war profiteer - Uma (Sanghamitra Desai Gadekar) and Surendra Gadekar
Open source as an example of transnational cooperation: Michael Mazgaonkar and Andreas Speck
Law and activism: Stellan Vinthagen
Resources for Nonviolent Change: Vanessa Ortiz (ICNC), Cynthia Boaz (ICNC), Howard Clark and Joanne Sheehan

CLOSING PLENARY
chaired by Dominique Saillard
Narayan Desai, Institute for Total Revolution, Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith, and former chairperson of WRI
The Five Reflectors
Local host: Anand Mazgaonkar
"That was the News"
Chairperson of WRI: Howard Clark

As a final participatory activity, Narayan Desai will write an appropriate text connected to the topic of the conference for a Garba (Gujarati folk dance) that is easy to learn and where everybody can join in.