After Bamako and Nairobi, the 11th edition of the World Social Forum (WSF) is back in Africa, hosted in Senegalese capital city Dakar where around 50.000 activists from around the world are expected to meet, reflect and debate, under the slogan "Another World Is Possible". A Burundian peacebuilder is attending and will be reporting on the most interesting new developments for peace movements.
During one week social movements, NGOs, academics, activists from the most diverse tendencies and other networks will be discussing on alternatives to the current economic, political and social systems which are causing exclusions, inequalities and injustices.
The WSF in Dakar will be focused on three main topics:
strengthening resistances against imperialism, free-market policies and oppression; and building popular and democratic alternatives. During the march that marked the launching of the WSF’s activities in streets of Dakar, thousands of people were shouting slogans such as “Another world is possible, Another Us is necessary”, “For popular and democratic alternatives to the crisis”, and “Peace Now!”.
Peace and democratic aspirations of oppressed people are also very present at the forum. The changes that are taking place in Maghreb seem to have inspired many activists. Tunisians and Guineans have received a warm welcome here and are expected to share their experiences that have led to changes of regimes in their respective countries with other activists from all over the world.
On the banners and posters that were exhibited by peacebuilders present in marching, mainly made of women from Senegal (Casamance region) and other parts of the world, one could read:”No women, no peace”, “Youth don’t only sing, they ‘digital’ in democracy”, “Words of women, words of peace”, “Women, stand up for peace in Casamance”, “We had suffered enough and enough from wars”.
During this forum due to take place up to Friday 11th February, peacebuilders and human rights activists will be formulating proposals, sharing their experiences freely and networking for effective through debates, round tables, exhibitions, theatres and other popular manifestations.
"No Women, No Peace"
This title of one of the most successful tracks of Bob Marley is sounding at the World Social Forum that kicked off officially this Monday in the Senegalese capital Dakar. It has however been changed to be "No Women, No Peace", as part of a campaign by some of the women peacebuilders present. Peace Women Across the Globe (PWAG) is an international network is actively working in various areas throughout the world for peace, safety and justice. The "No Women, No Peace" campaign marks the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which calls for greater participation of women in peace processes.
In 2005, the network selected 1000 women peacebuilders from different countries as nominees of the Nobel Peace Prize. Although they were not awarded the prize, they have not been discouraged according to Fatoumata Maïga, West Africa Coordinator of PWAG.
At the World Social Forum, the network continues its attempt to redefine peace. Because, although inter-governmental conflicts may seem to have decreased, peace is still threatened. Violence, oppression and injustice constitute a daily experience for many, especially women and children.
Mariam Sow Cissé, one of the 1000 nominees from Guinea who have played a significant change in the democratic transition that recently took place in her country said "Peace goes beyond security issues. Peace starts at home when you give birth to children and see them growing and enjoying life. Without healthcare services, education, food and job security, there’s no peace".
Peace Women Across the Globe is organizing a workshop this Wednesday entitled “Women Lead the Way-Redefining Peace”. Among the panelists, women peacebuilders from Brazil, Burundi, Mali, Mexico, Indonesia, Uganda and Switzerland.
Burundi Local Correspondent. Reporting from the WSF in Dakar, Senegal. February 2011.