Skip to content or view screen version

WSF 2007: What's hot and what's not

hotandnot | 03.02.2007 16:46 | Free Spaces | Globalisation | Social Struggles

A short and sweet lowdown of what was hot and what was not in Nairobi.


*Southeast Asian peasant hats (you have to see it to believe it)*
*China is the new imperialist, boo! (Fahamu rules)
*Slums and slum dwellers' associations* (Korogocho and Kibera chic)
*Pakistani food vendors* (Anticapitalist curry was very hot)
*Repudiation (of debt)*
*Dag Hammerskjöld ‘What Next?’ series
*Getting your hands on a programme
*The Weather
*Disability rights
*LGBTI activism in Africa (the Q-Spot was the ultimate f@#k you to the Catholic CARITAS tent across the road)*
*Spontaneous freedom singing (except from the CARITAS tent)*
*Western Sahara (the new Palestine)*
*Dedan Kimathi and the Mau Mau*
*African Hip-Hop sung by disadvantaged yoof from the slums, innit*
*Direct action at the WSF itself (who’d have thunk it?)*
*Desmond Tutu* (token Nobel Laureate is still in this year)
*Tusker Beer (medium bodied with a nose of honeysuckle and melon and a candied apple finish).


*Sunburned Dutchies flaunting Palestinian accessories ( ie 'we are all Palestinians!' badges… yeah, whatever mate!)*
*Jambo! (touristy bastardization of Kiswahili greeting)*
*Wangari Mathaai* (proof that single issue campaigning is a bad idea)
*Che Guevara gear (I mean really, still!?)*
*The CARITAS tent (made songs of praise look like the Rocky Horror Picture Show)*
*One Plank bridge over the river Smeg
*Oxfam driving around in their SUVs
*Chômage (French unemployment is sooo last year)
*'Out of Africa' film screening (“What? It's got
Africa in it….”)
*Spontaneous freedom drumming
*LGBTI activist being heckled at the WSF closing ceremony (that's just not cool)
*Climate change (it may be hot but not at the WSF)
*WSF Organisers* (wouldn’t want to be one just now).
*Chanting 'Who let the war out? Bush, Bush and Blair!'
to the tune of 'Who let the dogs out? (thanks loser
Stop the War person from London, you know who you are!)
*North American Indymedia activists from the West
Coast (How many hugs do you need?!)*
*Celtel – ‘Making life more irritating!’



Hide the following 2 comments


04.02.2007 19:12

Lols.... you are so bang right on the "not" list

Seroiusly thou' I wish people would pay more attention "Chinese imperialism", than rather hearing from the usual "Bash" the westerners approach. Which is soo tiresome and dated.

Good stuff

judge not, lest ye be...

25.02.2007 00:36

"Jambo! (touristy bastardization of Kiswahili greeting)"
I definitely agree that tourism is just one more facet of the entire Capitalist/Consumerist nightmare that the world is currently undergoing. Travel is a wonderful thing, yet recent western preoccupation with money and materialism is not just an ugly demon whose main irritant factor is to make one's eyes sore whilst engaging in one's pilgrimage, but is actually a very real threat to the continued evolution of many cultures and human societies. We're talking about peoples lifestyles which are harmonious with the planet, carriers of many ancient wisdom traditions, customs and languages which the corporate machine is now threatening with extinction.
There are also many astute and erudite observations in this article, such as;

"LGBTI activist being heckled at the WSF closing ceremony (that's just not cool),"

And it is admirable to see a minority group which suffers much discrimination being stuck up for by the author.
I am very grateful to the author for his/her contribution, and appreciate the opportunity to read a quick, informative summary of what was going on on the ground at the Forum, as I didn't get the chance to go there myself. However it does seem to me that there are certain "points of view" or "trains of thought" which seem to be anathema to the stated aims of the Forum, and contradictory to the writer him/herself.
For example the writer includes "Spontaneous freedom drumming" in the "not" list;
I'm sure the right honourable Bob Marley's redemption would turn his grave into a song, if you forgive my magic tongue twisted mind kiss.
Personal expression is always a beautiful thing, as long as it harms no one, and in order to nurture it we need to be accepting and tollerant of people's shortcomings as they learn to let go, to love them even for their mistakes, and learn to appreciate things which in one's mind-projected reality may not adhere to one's "code of cool." To stifle another's creative impulse, (and excuse my adherence to what many might deflatingly describe as, for want of a better word, "hippy bullshit") to derrogate one's "inner child" is to actually indulge one's "inner fascist", and to adhere to one's social and cultural conditioning, made so competitve and intollerant by what many see as a neo-colonialist western legacy responsible for much of the pain and suffering around here.
Now my understanding of the international, intercultural and interactive global movement is that many are striving to break down barriers. These barriers exist within us as well as without, so a true revolutionary (and I hear Che Guevara's memory has been somewhat commodified?) would question the wisdom of turning the write up and dissemination of information on such a dynamic, multi faceted event as the Forum into a mere magazine - style, celebrity worshipping ego-flap.
If we are to succeed in making this other world, which so many of us hope and pray for, possible, we are going to have to learn to tear down our own inner barriers and use the time honoured and mind - tested techniques of love, compassion, forgiveness and acceptence of differences between ourselves. We could even learn to rejoice in the amazing veriety of life and beings which our beautiful planet is blessed with.
I'm sure that some of the activists from the west coast could have really done with more hugs, as they are contending with a concentration of brutality from their so called superiors rerely, if ever precedented. I was under the impression that solidarity was a prerequisite for effective class struggle, and what better way to solidify any sort of connection than with a physical display of affection. Fuck me, it sounds like one of these days resistence really could be fertile...
Now I was going to try and engineer the end of my comment with some sort of "who let the dog bark", and ask belligerent and astute minded readers who the real tourist was (and risk sounding like a loser), but then it dawned on me (and what a liberating sensation it was) that to go hurling negativity around in such an uncouth fashion in an open arena would be anathema to the values of any peace activist, and would not serve any of peace's real objectives. Instead I would simply urge the writer, and anyone inspired by this discourse, to try to be slightly more aware and (I dread to use the word) "responsible" in their reporting. to save loaded terminology and judgement for the real killers and criminals in this world, (although even here it is possible to overcome these negative mental reactions and extend compassionate understanding to even the most degenerate amongst us.) Remember:

Fighting for Peace is like Fucking for Virginity;
so choose viagra or choose the equinimity...

Yours with Grace,
Matt Reinhart

mail e-mail: