By Thandi Winston
DAKAR, Feb 11 (TerraViva) – Delegates attending the WSF in Dakar have affirmed their support and active solidarity with the people of Tunisia, Egypt and the Arab world.
The social movement assembly of the World Social Forum adopted a declaration that said ‚Äúthe Arab world has risen up to the demand a true democracy and build the people‚Äôs power.
‚ÄúTheir struggles are lighting the path to another world, free from oppression and exploitation,‚ÄĚ the statement reads.
‚ÄúInspired by the struggles of the peoples of Tunisia and Egypt, we call for March 20th to be made a day of international solidarity with the uprisings of the Arab and African people, whose advance supports the struggles of all peoples.”
Thousands of delegates attended the assembly at the main venue at Cheikh Anta Diop University. Loud applause broke out as the statement was read out.
Some delegates had expressed concerned that the events in North Africa were not granted enough time for discussion time at the Forum. Others said the assembly’s statement goes a long way in showing solidarity to the people of Tunisia and Egypt.
Following the reading out of the statement, Mamdouh Habashi, an Egyptian activist who had spent several days at the focal point of the Egyptian protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square just before coming to Dakar, addressed the assembly.
‚ÄúThe revolution is not yet over. Mubarak is still in power,‚ÄĚ he said.
Habashi said the ‚Äúpeople of Egypt are at war with the imperialists and need the support of the African people and the world‚ÄĚ. Change in Egypt, he said, is an earthquake taking place that will change the world. He underlined that pressure must be put on countries that still supported Mubarak.
Picking up the theme, Habashi’s fellow Egyptian and activist, the public intellectual Samir Amin, echoed these sentiments but urged activists to find ways to offer effective solidarity.
‚ÄúIt is not enough to show solidarity with the people of Egypt, we have to also change the U.S. and other powers. It is only through doing this that we can truly help the people of Egypt.”
When she took the floor, feminist and activist Pumi Mtetwa said the social movements of South Africa and Southern Africa also support the people of Egypt and Tunisia.
‚ÄúUnity in struggle and struggle in unity,” she declared. ‚ÄúWe pledge our solidarity to the people and support the assembly‚Äôs declaration‚ÄĚ.
Habiya Sheg from Algeria said, “The people of Egypt have taken the decision [to resist] and will not go back and this is about political sovereignty.”
Thousands of delegates have been urged to support a march on the Egyptian embassy in Dakar at the end of the WSF’s final proceedings.