World Social Forum – The final balance

The previous articles described the run-up to, the opening and the proceeding of the forum. Now the final balance.

The final balance of the World Social Forum (WSF) in Belém was positive. At least according to the organizers, the mayor of Belém and the governor of the federal state of Pará. Eventually 135 thousand people participated from 142 countries, with 15 thousand participants in the encampment and 4,830 volunteers, translators, technicians and representatives of the organizers.

The governor of Pará, Ana Júlia Carepa emphasized the positive influence of the forum on the economy of the state. (I had expected that, as a socialist, she would highlight the results of this ‘human’ forum, but no, the true socialists: only money counts). She stressed that in Great Belém 40 million reais (€ 13.5 million) was spent, of which 18 million for housing, 16 million with meals and 6 million with transport. According to the governor “the choice of Belém could not be at a more opportune moment, because here in Pará we demonstrate that it is possible to construct a new development model for Pará and the Amazon. We feel one with these hundred thousand people, who believe that another world is possible and in the name of this ideal, we have built our government. In the name of this ideal, we work to transform Pará into a constitutional state.” (If you know Ana Júlia and her political results, you get weak knees listening to these words.)

But the official view is not shared by the university students, who made their appearance to the lecture-rooms on Monday after the forum. Kyone Oliveira, 18 years, of the faculty Zootecnia, says she is shocked by the state the campus is in after the forum. “They have polluted everything and then go away. I thought, that it would go this way, that’s why I have not participated. Neither my university nor the city of Belém has the infrastructure to organize a forum like this. If we as students already suffer from poor toilets, think of all those people. They improved only the roof of the lecture-room and now they say that everything is in order.”

The day after the World Social Forum 2009 ended the two campuses that hosted the event showed significant differences. While the campus of the Federal University of Pará (UFPA) was clean and quiet, on the campus of the Federal Agriculture University of the Amazon (UFRA), you could observe the mess, the stench and the dissatisfaction of the participants.

After the forum many students said they had a …….. continue reading and see more images of the event