Blog posts

    25 Jan 2010

    Milan Rai

    <p>Milan Rai reports from the WRI Triennial in India</p>

    On the second morning (the third day) of the Triennial, we had our first “reflectors” session. The reflectors were five people who had been chosen to give their reaction to the conference so far. There were four women (all English-speaking, one African, one Australasian, one European, one North American) and one man (Spanish-speaking, Latin American).

    Incidentally, this reminds me of something Jai Sen said about the book he co-edited: World Social Forum: Challenging Empires. They set themselves a very difficult standard in terms of contributors: achieving balance between continents…

    24 Jan 2010

    Milan Rai

    <p>Milan Rai reports from the WRI Triennial in India</p>

    What was the “breaking news” I promised at the beginning of the last posting? Well, yesterday I sat in on a discussion group that decided to put forward a major proposal to the council of War Resisters International, suggesting an investigation of the feasibility and desirability of WRI addressing the extent to which climate change, and in particular the threat of runaway climate change, affects the anti-militarist and social justice struggles it is currently involved in, or supporting.

    The peace movement, by and large, operates on the assumption that the basic fabric of life will…

    24 Jan 2010

    Milan Rai

    <p>Milan Rai reports from the WRI Triennial in India</p>

    The breaking news just doesn’t stop.

    After lunch yesterday (23 January) we broke up for workshops. For some reason we had two workshop slots of differing lengths, and there was also the option for many of them of continuing the workshop after the break. The first slot (2 hours) I went to hear Bela Bhatia talking about the conflict in the state of Chhattisgarh, where police and Maoists are fighting a vicious war in a tribal area. (Tribal people are known as “adivasis” or “earliest/original inhabitants”.)

    Her talk was embedded in a workshop entitled “War on terror”, and Jorgen…

    24 Jan 2010

    Milan Rai

    Milan Rai reports from the WRI Triennial in India

    Can international conferences like this be justified? Lots of my friends think not. I have breaking news from Peace News on this score – the survey they dared not print. Well, no one has not dared to print it, actually, but it dramatises the story.

    Earlier today, in the morning plenary session, we had a searing moment which really made the whole thing worthwhile. We had two plenary speakers. One was Samarendra Das, who has been working for 16 years with poor communities facing displacement and pollution and brutal repression from the mining industry. The other was Elavie Ndura (her…

    24 Jan 2010

    Milan Rai

    Milan Rai reports from the WRI Triennial in India

    The War Resisters International Triennial (now held every four years, in a cunning ploy to avoid police detection and repression) is being held here in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, at Gujarat University or “Gujarat Vidyapith”. Coming from the recent ice, snow and slush of southern England, Ahmedabad is jarringly hot – but not too hot, dusty but not too dusty. The university, which was closed down three times by the British authorities during the national freedom struggle, was founded by Gandhi, and the library has an extensive section called “Gandhiana” (I just saw it while looking for the…