Against the expectations of many, on January 25th, thousands of participants flooded Kasarani, the Nairobi sports complex were the World Social Forum 2007 was held. Dozens of stands, two huge news rooms, restaurants, meeting tents were erected in a rush of hectic activity.
Even a neatly printed programme in several languages turned out, late for the first morning, but just in time to guide participants through most of the Forum. Organizers claimed that up to 45,000 people had registered, meetings and debates were taking place. The World Social Forum was on and striving.
At the same time, when risking total failure for lack of money, the WSF organizers felt forced to partly fund its activities through controversial ways, such as a sponsorship from a multinational phone company and a luxury restaurant owned by Kenya’s Internal Security Minister. This fact did not go unnoticed to participants nor unreported by TerraViva because it is at the core of what the WSF is and is expected to be.
In a soul-searching WSF, our newspaper played a significant political role. With limited space, TerraViva sought to become a channel not as much to celebrate the WSF but to help it in providing itself a roadmap. Central to it, in a time of fluid political change led by Latin America, is the relationship between the Forum and political parties, trades unions, sympathetic governments and the private sector, stories fully covered by our reporters.
TerraViva stories even created some turmoil, anger, debate, controversy. The restaurant was looted, for example, and some African youngsters and not-so- young European activists teared up a few TerraViva copies. On the proactive side, TerraViva reporters and columnists contributed to many a debate in questioning the WSF’s role, its internal structure, its funding, proposing new ideas, challenging methods and stereotypes.
No wonder then that it took six hours to ditribute 15,000 copies of the first issue and less than 30 minutes on the fourth and final day.
An international team of editors, journalists, translators, photographers, Illustrators, lay-out artists, etc. headed by Alejandro Kirk and composed by Paula Frey, Dipankar de Sarkar, Qurratul Ain Tahmina (Miti), Zarina Geloo, Hilmi Toros, Gavin Yates, Martin Adhola, Judy Waguma, Joyce Mulama, Daniel Muchai, Maria Laura Mazza, Paulino Menezes, Omar Galindo, Ugo Ramallo, Cristina and Rossana Pozzobon, Marcelo Boedo, Francois Saint-Pierre and Claudia Diez de Medina achieved the production of TerraViva in English, Spanish, Swahili and Portuguese, despite the limited space office and chaotic technical infrastructures.
Read and dowload the WSF 2007 TerraViva editions http://www.ipsterraviva.net/TV/Nairobi/en/default.asp
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