Subject: [fem-women2000 696] FWD: WCAR: Voices of Youth?
From: Makoto TERANAKA <>
Date: Mon, 03 Sep 2001 19:12:25 +0900
Seq: 696

Forward to

Date: Sat, 01 Sep 2001 16:16:42 +0800
>From: Kathy Clarin <>
Subject: WCAR Update 12 from Isis International-Manila

Voices of Youth?

The plenary session of the Youth Forum on racism put forward an ambitious 
declaration covering issues from the social impact of environmental 
destruction to discrimination against women and the poor.

But vocal sections of the youth were dissatisfied with the proceedings.

The major flashpoint was Palestine. The most fractious debate took place on 
the wording of the agreement in the committee discussing foreign 
occupation. The arguments spilled over into the main hall, out into the 
corridors, and back to the secretariat, which frankly admitted there were 
issues it was "finding difficult to overcome", as Jewish delegates walked 
out of the session.

But it wasn't just the obvious issues that worried the youths attending the 

All those I spoke to were annoyed about the aging youths arrogating to 
their conference. Three of the youngest members of the forum went on stage 
to state the problem. Seventeen-year-old Dezroy Bobb suggested an age-limit 
be set, clarifying exactly how old a young person can be.

They were also concerned about marginalised communities who were not able 
to be present at the forum. Ntsiki Mbambo, a Durbanite, pointed out that 
not much emphasis was given on the HIV/ AIDS issue, confident that rural 
South Africans would have placed this on the top of the health agenda.

But the main problem, echoed in the next day's NGO Forum, was translation. 
In the working committee groups, language difficulties meant the programmes 
stretched hours over time. Some groups were unable to finalise their 
drafts, and insisted that the final document could not be presented as a 
complete paper.

All the participants were aware of the need to take the issues discussed 
here beyond the 700 delegates priviliged enough to make it to Durban. So a 
proposal was put forward to make this the start of an international 
grassroots network. Presenting this vision at the opening ceremony of the 
NGO conference, a youth spokesman declared that this would not be a project 
confined to Internet mailings, excluding the millions unable to access the 
Web. It would be working groups within each country, spreading the ideas 
and plans discussed over two days here in Durban.

On her hopes for the network, Lalaine P Viado from the Philippines, said, 
"We have to focus mainly on the substance, which is identifying the causes 
of races, and then, we don't stop there, we have to move forward from there 
and look at the whole problem of how racism is being reproduced."

The final plenary session of the Youth Forum had a pronounced anti-American 
slant. Proposals on Tibet raised barely a murmur of approval, while 
proposals on Puerto Rico, reparations for slavery and the economic 
colonisation of Latin America were all greeted with roars of applause.

A consensus could not be reached on some issues, principally regarding the 
Israeli demands. Nevertheless, the youth groups who took part in the forum 
seemed optimistic at the close of the session.

Unfortunately this enthusiasm was further damped by problems when the 
finalised document came out. The initial discussion on the document was 
postponed, as the document was only available in English. The second was 
postponed as they hadn't had time to distribute the French and Spanish 

I asked one young, previously enthusiastic, Australian when the third was 
going to be. She didn't know and didn't care.

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