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Grassroots movements against the Clash of Civilisations

rachel | 15.10.2004 22:45 | European Social Forum | Repression

Today at the Beyond ESF space at Middlesex University there was a meeting called "Resisting the Clash - Building Networks of Solidarity Against Colonialism in the Middle East and the "Clash of Civilisations". This is part of a tour organised by "Marhaba Europe !"

An activist from the Lebanese Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spoke about how gay rights activists in Lebanon have been persecuted by the authorities. For two years his group went underground, and now they are out in the open. At first they were not noticed by the authorities, but after about two months there was a backlash in the right-wing press.

A UK activist who spent 9 months in Iraq, spoke of her experiences there. She worked with a trade union in Iraq, because she wanted to "work with people who are resisting the occupation". She spoke of how certain occupation orders allow for 100% privatisation in the country. She said that the occupying forces were turning Iraq into "one big free trade zone".

A woman from the International Organisation for Women's Freedom in Iraq spoke about the degrading treatment of Iraqi women by the Baathist party, by the occupying forces, and by certain anti-feminist elements of the resistance. She spoke about how women are often not allowed to work in Iraq now, and about how the occupying forces have done nothing to prevent rape and honour killings.

Marhaba Europe ! want to facilitate networking between these grassroots social movements throughout the world, in order to oppose certain racist ideas. These racist ideas include the way the mainstream media is constantly talking about a "Clash of Civilisations." They lead us to be suspicious of those who are different, and furthermore they divide people by preventing them from organising against injustice.