Gobar Times
Open Forum

Mr. Mandela, I presume?

    Mr. Mandela, I presume?   

Some personalities you might bump into at a World Social Forum. Doctor's advice kept Nelson Mandela away from the WSF 2004 in Mumbai.

Noam Chomsky

Political Activist, Linguist

Chomsky needs no introduction. He is the author of numerous books and articles on U.S. foreign policy, international affairs and human rights. In his own words, “The WSF offers opportunities of unparalleled importance to bring together popular forces from many and varied constituencies from the richer and poor countries alike, to develop constructive alternatives that will defend the overwhelming majority of the world's population from the attack on fundamental human rights, and to move on to break down illegitimate power concentrations and extend the domains of justice and freedom.”

Susan George


Has written widely on development issues and international affairs. She is Associate Director of the Amsterdam based Transnational Institute and has a long list of books including How the Other Half Dies, A Fate Worse than Debt, Tand Faith and Credit: The World Bank's Secular Empire.

Susan feels that the WSF "is not building a new society of governments, nor a new society of nations, (but) …. a new society of societies." She adds that "while the road ahead toward some sort of global equity and a better humanity is long, arduous and uncertain, it is,  nevertheless, the only route out of barbarity."

Jose Bové

Activist Farmer

"Big conglomerates are trying to standardize food production and consumption to their exclu-sive advantage""
His activism against a local McDonald's outlet has made him into a national hero in France. But it has also gotten him into trouble. He was sentenced to six months in jail for helping to destroy genetically modified rice plants.

P Sainath


Sainath is the author of Everybody Loves a Good Drought, a book on living conditions in the 10 poorest districts of India.

"..the word dalit means oppressed. I think it's very bad for the rest of society to remain both unsympa-thetic and with-out understand-ing of what's happenng."

“When a nation is down and out, the IMF takes advantage and squeezes the last pound of blood out of them.. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up. It has condemned people to death.." Joseph E. Stiglitz

Joseph E. Stiglitz


Winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for economics. Mr. Stiglitz served
as a World Bank Chief Economist from 1997 to 1999. He left the World Bank as he disagreed with it's policies.

Jaggi Singh
Anarchist from Canada

Arrrested by Canadian Police, kidnapped and beaten by Israeli immigration officials


Aruna Roy

Magsaysay award Winner

"Leadership has to be redefined to include the collectives of ordinary people and the ideas they generate.” This former IAS officer has now set up the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatana to “to struggle for the empowerment of disadvantaged people”. She was instrumental in getting the Right to Information Bill passed in Rajasthan. She dedicated her Magsaysay for community leadership to the "ordinary people" in Rajasthan.

Asma Jehangir

Human Rights Activist

The name of Asma Jehangir, human rights activist, commands respect, admiration and affection in the Indian sub-continent—comprising India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. She has fought numerous cases against the Pakistan government to uphold the rights of minorities like Christians and Hindus.

She once saved a Christian boy of 12, sentenced to death for blasphemy from being hanged; she has saved women charged with adultery from being stoned to death; she leads agitations against public flogging, executions and chopping off of limbs ordained by hooded ordinances promulgated during the regime of President Zia-ul Haq.

Mullah elements hate her guts.

“I wasn’t elected by a TV commercial, or by a collection of powerful interests. Nor was I elected because of my intelligence or personality. I was elected by the intelligence and political consciousness of the Brasilian people, who have fought for 40 years for what they have wanted.”

Lula da Silva

President of Brasil

Porto Alegre, Brasil — It’s hard not to be moved — deeply moved — when you hear Brazil’s new president speak. As the man who now presides over this country of 175 million, with the eighth biggest economy in the world, but with wealth so radically ill-distributed that as many as 30 million live at sub-Saharan levels of poverty, Lula focused his talk on the injustices of the global economy.

“There are those who eat five times a day,” he said, (speaking at the last WSF 2003 in Brasil), “And those who eat maybe once in five days.” During the 21 years of Brazilian military dictatorship, Lula toiled as a metalworker. He courageously defied the regime and helped rebuild a powerful national trade-union movement.

Since 1980 he has been leading another of his creations, the idiosyncratic Workers Party, an amalgam of Marxists, liberals and Christians. After three earlier failed attempts, Lula swept to a 61 percent landslide presidential victory, propelled by an electorate fed up with the “Washington consensus” — the dogmatic and disastrous application of free-market recipes that in this country has led to mounting unemployment and inflation, a consuming debt and shaky currency.

(Excerpts from an LA Weekly column written by Marc cooper in Jan 2003)

"...you all are fighting a war for the rich and powerful"



Shirin Ebadi

Iranian Human Rights Lawyer & 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Jeremy Corbyn

UK’S Anti-war Labour MP

Has termed the conditions the WB nad IMF sets on countries are “cruel”. Has taken on McDonald’s over their “appalling” behaviour towards the people of Britain, opposed Prime Minister Blair for his support to the US-led war on Iraq.

Corbyn was at the forefront of the campaign to have dictator Augusto Pinochet extradited.


Survivor of the Atom Bomb

An aging survivor of the first atomic bomb, actually used in war time, dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945 that killed between 130,000 and 150,000 people by the end of that year.

The Mahatma

Ghost of Gandhi

"...sorry for constantly turning up like a bad penny."


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Mr. Mandela, I presume?