• Mesopotamia Social Forum (MSF) in Diyarbakir

  • By João Romão | 12 Oct 09 | Posted under: Social Forums
  • Thousands of activists from more than 50 countries participated in the Mesopotamia Social Forum, in Diyarbakir, (southeast Turkey). The struggles against war and neo-liberal policies, the fight for the rights of women, the environmental problems and the youth movement wew the important topics in discussion, but the right of the turkish people to their freedom and equality has been in the center of all the debates.

    The Forum took place in one of the most ancient cities in the world, in Mesopotamia and it has been a great success, with a massive participation of Kurdish people and some guests from other places of Turkey, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America. During 3 days, about ten thousand people visited the venue, at the Sümer Park. 4.000 persons joined the Opening Parade, on saturday (26th September), creating a very enthusiastic event.

    A big audience was present in the first day of MSF (Sunday, 27th September), with debates about the youth, the energy wars, identity and culture, women or Palestine. The second day had much less participants I have seen but the last day attracted more people. The "Women March" with thousands of women with torches on the streets of Diyarbakir, at night, has been a very impressive event.

    At the same time, the international Amed Camp took place in the scope of the Mesopotamian Social Forum, with the slogan "Internationalism means united resistance - a free life means democratic communalism". Around 150 participants from Kurdistan, Germany, Italy, the Basque country, Palestine, France, Austria, Holland and Turkey took part in the camp.

    The Youth declaration approved in the Forum defined that "There is going to be a camp in Basque Country in April 2010 and afterwards another youth camp in Amed. By that, we hope to create an efficient and ongoing exchange with regular events. The aim is to create a global connection of anti-capitalist youth movements who can fight capitalism and imperialism, colonial systems and postcolonial structures together. We want to be able to react to current issues of each of our groups and to act in solidarity".

    12 reports about the different networks were read in the Social Movements Assembly in the MSF. The final declaration of this Assembly concluded that "The forum dramatically revealed the lacking of the European democracy, the hypocrisy of the Western civilization, the inside of the capitalist system, the character of the dominant men and the real world of the women".

    It was also stated that "the unity of collective of the peoples is required as a solution to the social problems in the lights of democratic socialism and to the occurrences during the struggle for freedom for the modern life and against dogmatism, patterns and narrow perspectives. In that sense, it was pronounced in all sessions that Mesopotamia, where the natural society is struggling for life, has the historic and cultural background for creating a free and democratic Middle East".

    In the discussions one of the important issues that was stated was the ecological destruction in the name of development: "As a result of the denial of the nature, the forests are being burned and dangerous thermical and hydroelectirical power plants are constructed. At the same time the destroying security dams were discussed in the title of “the use of water against human and nature”.

    It was decided "To support the Palestinian people, the returning right of the Palestinian refugees to their lands who were displaced in 1948 and support to the struggle of Palestinian people for the auto-determination is stated".

    The final declaration of the "Cultural Transformations in the Middle East and it's initiators Assembly" focused in the struggle of the kurdish people for their rights and culture, defining that "the Kurdish language will be language of education from kindergarten to university and should be used accurately in public space", "According to Kurd Calendar 21st of March which is the first day of new year should be used", "Kurdish Televisions haven't got impression on community, Kurdish media should be free from the others influence" and defending "The using of Latin alphabet in Kurdish writing".

    Other important issues relating the Kurdish people were stated in the final declaration of the "People in the Middle East, Fragmentation and Solidarity Assembly", defending that "Competencies of local administrations should be increased and decentralisation of the administration should be brought", "Village Guard system should be abolished, structures like JITEM (Gendarmerie Intelligence Service) and contra-guerrilla should be abrogated and deep state which is out of social review and non-transparent should be abolished".

    This declaration also states that "12-year-primary education should be compulsory, free of charge and in mother tongue of everyone", "Educational system should be reviewed thoroughly, nationalist, class-based and rejecting beliefs and sexist elements existing within the curriculum should be removed”.

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