[DEBATE] : Wits protestors reject WTO's Lamy-komnas
vallys at epu.wits.ac.za
Tue Feb 14 07:55:26 GMT 2006
WIts protesters reject head of Medieval Organisation
by komnas Friday February 10, 2006 at 07:02 AM
Wits Protesters Reject Head of Medieval Organisation
Following the recent Hong Kong trade negotiations the director general of the World Trade Organisation Pascal Lamy described the WTO as a 'medieval ' organization . If by this he meant that it promoted archaic values harmful and inapplicable to the modern world and functioned in an undemocratic fashion in which the powerful ride rough shod over those beneath them then those protesting his presence at Wits university today clearly agreed with him.
In a hall resembling something out of Louis the sixteenth's France (not exactly "proudly South African") surrounded by self-satisfied aspirant robber barons mr Lamy was no doubt shocked by the churlish almost 'peasant' like behaviour of Wits students and a community organiser who interrupted the start of his speech by chanting "No to the WtO!" and "Phansi WtO!" while
unfurling a banner expressing the same sentiments.
The response to this did indeed seem like something out of (South Africa's) past with the middle class students initially treated in a patronising manner , being requested by an organiser of the event to engage with mr Lamy in a constructive fashion(perhaps the abolitionists should have constructively engaged the slave traders instead of crushing them?), while comrade Macoma a black working class activist was immediately assaulted by four large security guards who grabbed her hands and jacket so hard she was almost lifted off the ground even though as Macoma acknowledges "I am also huge".
All of those protesting in the hall were then physically pushed out of it and Macoma wryly stated that "the person they should have pushed out is the very person they were inviting". The protesters from inside the hall then met up with their comrades from the Apf , Lpm and Jubilee waiting outside it but still on the university premises and tried to disrupt Baas Lamy's speech by singing, chanting and toyi-toying.
This was too much for Baas Lamy and his hosts who, obviously missing the good old days of absolutism when the poor knew their place (far away where they can't be seen or heard) , sent their thugs to try to keep the protesters as far from the hall as possible.
It seems that in our new "democracy" one has the constitutionally guaranteed freedom to assemble and protest but not too close to or too loudly for our modern day despots who rule by the divine right of the market. Lamy was forced to sneak out of the hall from a side exit and was escorted out of Wits by a large police contingent and scurried off to Nedlac were he was met by some of the same protesters . The superstitions of the medieval world have been discarded and it seems some want the myths peddled by the WtO of free trade promoting sustainable development and ending poverty to go the same way.
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