World Social Forum 2009: A hectic end to a great day

28 January 2009 - 5:20pm

We scuttled into the air-conditioned room, grateful to see our partners and for some cool air. Jamal Jumaa had just finished giving a presentation to 90 or so attendees on the situation in Palestine. Mahmoud Froukh then spoke about the hardship of living faced under the Occupation. Each day Palestinian farmers face of the destruction of their land and the uprooting of their trees by the Israeli army. He said that it had been estimated that one million trees had been uprooted, some of which were about 1,000 (yes, 1,000) years old. Mahmoud also stressed the problem of desertification and diminished land productivity, especially in Gaza. He was followed by two Via Campesina speakers, one from Mozambique and one from Haiti, who spoke of the importance of solidarity with the Palestinian farmers in their struggle for their land.

After the meeting, and as another torrential downpour began, we managed to get a few short interviews with members of the panel. By the time we had dinner and got back to the hotel we were absolutely exhausted. But we felt lucky to have had two full days to discover the site and meet our partners before running of to our own workshops. Time for an early night; we would have to be up and out by 7:30 the next day.


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