||Posted: Mar. 06 2004,07:17
The following article by a Japanese professor introduces the importance of the movement of World Social Forum and the role of Japan in Iraq. It was sent to us by Takehiko ITO of CPNN Tokyo.
POINT OF VIEW
Kinhide Mushakoji: World forum in Mumbai shows Japan the way
The world does not need the so-called global standard that serves only to widen the gap between rich and poor. It was wrong of U.S. President George W. Bush to invade Iraq and cause suffering to innocent people for the weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist.
As many as 120,000 people who shared these convictions gathered in Mumbai, India, for the World Social Forum in January.
Neo-liberal economics and neo-conservative supremacy render it impossible for people to live safely, and most people accept this as fate. But not those who came together at Mumbai, who were united in their belief that ``another world is possible.''
Among the speakers were former UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor and former UNHCR High Commissioner Mary Robinson. Both spoke forcefully from their U.N. experiences to thunderous applause.
Outside the conference hall, a group marched to the beating of drums and chanted with raised fists, ``Power to Dalits.'' (Dalits are one of India's most marginalized social groups.) Amateur theatricals and musicians performed on street corners, and peace rallies and anti-globalization events of all scales were held in about 150 tents pitched along the main street where the opening and closing ceremonies were held.
The participants vowed to make the Mumbai gathering the new starting point of their continued activities. And they agreed to orchestrate massive protest rallies around the world on March 20, the first anniversary of the start of the U.S.- and British-led invasion of Iraq.
Japan happens to be a rare nation that believes in ``human security'' as a matter of national policy. Human security is about making the entire world a safe place for everyone to live in, which was exactly what the Mumbai forum participants were seeking.
Yet, this same Japan is cooperating with America's ``war against terrorism'' and trying to ``rebuild'' Afghanistan and Iraq, both victims of U.S. destruction.
Human security means protecting people from critical and pervasive threats and situations. I explained the concept in detail in my recent book titled ``Ningen Anzen Hosho-ron Josetsu-Gurobaru Fashizumu ni Kou Shite'' (Introduction to the theory of human security-resisting globalism and fascism). In essence, human security was exactly what those 120,000 people in Mumbai were calling for.
Japan must examine the workings of globalism with a critical eye. This can be done only by shifting the eye level from that of the world's dominant powers and giant multinational corporations to that of ordinary citizens around the world living their daily lives in fear and anxiety. For Japan, the most obvious diplomatic policy to follow should be to explore how best the United Nations, individual nations and private citizens can contribute to human security with input from the people who are experiencing insecurity at first hand.
For this, however, it is necessary to begin by disbelieving whatever excuses the media make for America's illegal deeds, and then debunk the myth that economic rehabilitation depends on globalization.
A report of the Commission of Human Security, co-authored by Sadako Ogata and Amartya Sen, recommends measures that are diametrically opposed to America's for dealing with terrorism and international criminal organizations-the ``new threats'' in this age of globalization.
Specifically, the Ogata-Sen report focuses on working on the causes of human insecurity, rather than have some U.S.-led coalition monitor contain and punish offenders. In short, the report stresses the importance of empowering people and forming an extensive and global human security network of nations and various international bodies.
The belief that ``another world is possible,'' as expressed over and over in Mumbai, is proof that such a network has already been brought into being by people's power.
The author, former vice rector of the United Nations University, is currently professor of international politics at Chubu University. He contributed this comment to The Asahi Shimbun (IHT/Asahi: March 4, 2004) (03/04)