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Anti-Globalisation Militants in Beirut Blast WTO

We received the following account of anti-globalization action in Beirut:



World anti-globalisation militants condemned here Monday the "shameful"
convention of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Qatar which they said was
meant to impose a "second colonisation" on the third world.

"It is a shame to accept that such a meeting be held in an Arab country, after it has been expelled from the West. We should also expell it," said former Algerian President Ahmed Ben Bella. Ben Bella was speaking at the opening of the four-day "World Forum on Globalisation and Global Trade" held at the American University of Beirut, in the second such forum in Lebanon to counter the WTO meeting November 9-13. More than 200 anti-globalisation NGOs were taking part in the "World Forum" which gathered delegates from 45 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America. Some 500 people had attended the first international anti-WTO conference in Beirut over the weekend.

Ammar Abboud, one of the organisers of the forum, told AFP that the two counter-
summits held in Beirut would soon announce plans for street actions in Lebanon on November 9, the day the WTO meeting opens in Qatar.

Radical French farmer leader Jose Bove accused the WTO of choosing Qatar for the site of its meeting because "protest movements are not possible in a monarchy that lacks political pluralism and bans demonstrations."

He urged movements around the world to "resist and get mobilised ... because we
should globalise the struggle to globalise hope."

Bove condemned the "criminal logic" of the WTO which he said was planning to
launch a new round of negotiations for more free trade in an attempt to impose a "second phase of colonisation" of the third world.

He said such WTO plans to privatise services would destroy agriculture and deprive people from proper health care, educational and social benefits.

He added attempts by multinational companies to monopolise trademarks for
medicines were "a hold-up of humanity," particularly regarding the fight against the ever-growing spread of the AIDS virus in Africa.

Bove also blated the political effects of globalisation, mainly the failure of enforcing the implementation of United Nations resolutions on certain states such as Israel "in order to please the United States."

He condemned the "genocide" perpetrated against the Palestinian people by the
Israeli government.

Globalisation became a threat at the creation of the international coalition in the 1991 Gulf War "and now there is a repeat of that in the war on Afghanistan," Bove added, in reference to the US-led military operation which followed the September 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington.

French-Egyptian Samir Amin of the Third World Forum also urged movements around
the world, including in industrialised Western countries, to form a "front" to counter the "economic and political hegemony" of governments and multinationals.

Christophe Aguiton, from ATTAC-France, said it was "very important to hold those two counter-summits in Beirut because we want the struggle to get local, through small militant groups and networks around the world."

"Then it will become stronger because it will allow the battle to be jointly led by farmers, workers, students and unions from around the world," he told AFP on the sidelines of the conference.

Aguiton said that although no counter-action could take place in Qatar, the
governments taking part in the WTO meeting "will feel the pressures from the
demonstrations around the world."

"We are not against globalisation itself because it is an inevitable movement, what we want is another kind of globalisation that gives priority to social equality, development of southern countries and respect to the environment," he said.