Marc Becker's Home Page


Find on

World Social Forum

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Opening march

The WSF traditionally opens with a massive march thru the streets of the host city, and the forum in Belem was no exception. The march was scheduled to start at 3pm, but the people at the place where I was staying did not want to go then because "nothing ever starts on time." I, of course, want to see and do everything. But I agreed to wait until 3:30. Maybe that was just as well. Just as we were about ready to leave, the skies opened up for the regularly sceduled afternoon rains. There is, after all, a reason why the Amazon is called a rainforest. This was a particularly strong rain. When we finally went an hour later, we saw people walking back from the starting point of the walk completely drenched.

So, we missed the opening rally for the walk, and joined it in progress at the Praca da Republica. It was a typical march, in many ways. Loud, noisy, and people dancing in the streets. Perhaps this uniquely Brazil cross between politics and carnaval.

This forum is being cast as the Amazon Forum, with a particular focus on (and presence of) Indigenous peoples, and that was very marked in the opening march.

Palestine is also an ever present issue at the forum.

After winding thru the streets of the city for several hours, we end up at closing rally with more speeches and music that goes late into the nite.

Except for a quick crossing with Sylvia and Alfredo, I don't see anyone on the march who I know. I try to remember if that is normal for me on these WSF marches, or if something was different about this one. There are a lot of people here, but it seems like something like 95 percent of them are from Brazil. After drifting around for awhile, we head off to a hotel where we meet up with a bunch of people from our group.

Powered by Blogger

| Marc Becker's Home Page | |