Alain Ah-Vee, leading LALIT member, has just returned from Ahmedabad in India where he represented the party at the War Resisters International Conference against militarism and war. He intervened on the issue of the military base on Diego Garcia, and the struggle to get it closed, the struggle for the rights of those displaced, and the struggle for the re-unification of the country illegally cut up on the eve of Mauritian Independence. Other activists from organizations in the NO BASES network that LALIT was amongst the founders of were present, as well as the international Co-ordinator. The Conference was hosted by the Vidyapit University (Gandhian University), two other Gandhian organizations and by the Institute for Total Revolution. In fact the Institute for Total Revolution's leader, Narayan Desai, is the son of Mahatma Gnadhi's personal secretary.
The opening speeches were by Arundhati Roy, novelist and activist, whom Alain Ah-Vee met, and Ashish Nandy, committed intellectual. There was music and poetry as part of the programme, integrated into it. Alain Ah-Vee stayed at the University Hostel for two days and, for the rest of the time, with a family of musicians and writers.
There were around 200 participants, including people representing associations against the war, against the armaments industry and against military bases. The emphasis was on caring for peoples' survival and livelihood, as well as on opposing war. The delegates were from all over the world, including from India, Kashmir, Nepal, Australia, Russia, Macedonia, USA, Germany, Finland, France, South Korea, Spain, South Africa, Eritrea, Paraguay, Chili, Ecuador, UK, Benin, Zimbabwe, Congo (DRC), Sweden, West Papua, Belgium, Holland.
The War Resisters International, an organization set up in the 1920s, has to its credit, been strong enough to adapt to opposing different war in different social circumstances over time, during the course of nearly a century, while continuing to nurture experience of past struggles. Coming together with NO BASES and the Gandhian movement in India shows this flexibility working.
Alain Ah-Vee, on his return, said "The most important thing was how much I learnt. I found out about the different forms of existing struggle all over the globe against militarism and against war. I met older people with a wealth of experience and young people already active, as they learn from the older ones. This was very enriching. Discovering the University that Gandhi worked at, and discovering the heritage in terms of a kind of struggle being transmitted till today, was also very interesting. Also seeing how people responded to the richness of LALIT's experience in opposing the Diego Garcia base over 30 years, was also very rewarding. I had taken the film on the Chagossians made by the Irish TV team who were here a few years ago, which was very much appreciated."
Alain Ah-vee will give a formal report back, together with Ragini Kistnasamy, who went on the Gaza Freedom March earlier in the month, to LALIT members and supporters at a meeting on Saturday. The Double Report Back chaired by Ram Seegobin.