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Arundhati Roy Addresses Tens of Thousands At World Social Forum Opening in Bombay

January 20, 2004

Tens of thousands of people gathered at the opening of the six-day annual World Social Forum in Bombay, India this weekend. Award-winning author Arundhati Roy was among the speakers in the first three days of the forum, we play an excerpt of her address. [includes transcript]

Tens of thousands of people gathered at the opening of the six-day annual World Social Forum in Bombay, India this weekend. This marks the first time the World Social Forum is held outside of Brazil.

People addressed a range of issues including trade and the inequities of global capitalism as well as opposing war, India’s racist caste system and sexual and religious discrimination.

As in the last three years, this year’s World Social Forum is timed to run concurrently with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which is a gathering of the world’s corporate executives and political leaders.

The speakers in the first three days of the forum included José Bové, the French farmer who led the demolition of a half-built McDonald’s outlet to protest globalization; the Iranian human rights activist and Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi as well as Indian novelist Arundhati Roy. This is what she had to say


  • Arundhati Roy, Indian author and campaigner addressing tens of thousands of people gathered at the opening of the World Social Forum 2004 in Bombay, India.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We play a clip of what Arundhati Roy had to say.

ARUNDHATI ROY: What happened in Cancun was very important, and what it taught us was the importance of globalized resistance. We must understand that no single country alone can stand up to corporate globalization. It doesn’t matter if that country is headed by Nelson Mandela. It doesn’t matter if that country is headed by Lula. If all of us gathered here and at the Mumbai resistance are really against imperialism, if we are really against neoliberalism, then I think we should turn our gaze on Iraq, because Iraq is the culmination of both imperialism and neoliberalism. And Bush —- and George Bush believes that Iraq can be occupied and colonized like Afghanistan has been, like Tibet has been, like Chechnya has been, like East Timor once was, like Palestine still is. He should just wait and all of us will go home. But I think we need a global victory here. It’s not good enough for us to be right. It’s not good enough for us to keep saying -—. We need to win something. And in order to win something, we need to agree about something. Even if it’s a small, simple thing. So, I think if we are against imperialism, if we are against neoliberalism, then we must not just support the resistance in Iraq, we must become the resistance in Iraq. So, I suggest, it’s a question — it’s a question of bringing our collective wisdom to bear on one single project. The project of the New American Century seeks to perpetrate inequity and establish American hegemony at any price. The World Social Forum demands justice and survival. For these reason, we must consider ourselves at war. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Arundhati Roy, speaking in Bombay at the World Social Forum. Tens of thousands of people are gathered there. For the first time being held in India. It has been held in Brazil.

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