WINDHOEK – The more than 230 young Namibians who participated in the just ended World Festival of Youth and Students arrived back in Windhoek yesterday from Quito, Ecuador, where they held their own in a number of discussions including those on using the natural resources to benefit ordinary people as well as the influence of the mass media and imperialism.
It was the Namibian youths who reminded the youths from Europe – during the seminar on “Mass media and information manipulation by imperialism and the alternatives” – that often the European leftist youths are not vocal in their support for Africa to have a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. “Where is the practical influence of the leftist [youth in] Europe on mass media on issues of having Africa on the UN Security Council as permanent member when Africa is supplying most of the raw materials to [the west]?” the Namibian youths asked the panel that consisted of youth representatives from Italy, Democratic Republic of Korea, Brazil, and Ecuador.
At one point Swapo Youth League spokesperson Job Amupanda, took exception to the remarks by the panellist from Italy who apologised for not being able to speak comprehensive Spanish but said he does not speak English, as English is the most imperialist language. Spanish, he said, has been saved or polished by the Americas into a language of that continent.
Amupanda rose to say the Americas are speaking Spanish because the Spanish colonised them just as Africans are speaking English after being colonised by the British and to say one language is more imperialist than the other is a distortion of historical facts. The speaker got up from the stage to embrace Amupanda in an apologetic hug.
Among the activities that took place between December 06 to 13 were numerous lectures, seminars and presentations by youths on their views on world politics, especially on the elements of capitalism and imperialist antagonism, fighting for sanctions and instilling a revolutionary spirit against the establishment of foreign military bases in countries, as well as looking at the modern day role of religion and ethnic conflicts. Namibia was also tasked to represent the African continent by putting up an African theme, as part of the show of cultural diversity of the five continents at the festival.
The youths came from countries such as Argentina, Cuba, China, Bolivia, France, the Democratic Republic of Korea, Iran, South Africa, Mozambique, Spain, Mexico, Vietnam, United States, Brazil, Peru and Pakistan.
The debates were aimed at encouraging an exchange of ideas among delegates and guests in favour of peace, sovereignty and solidarity among the peoples. They began on Sunday with Amupanda as one of the first people to make presentations, with the presentation titled ‘The struggle for peace, sovereignty and solidarity against imperialism.’
At the opening the President of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), Tiago Vieira, renewed support to the right of the Sahrawi people to freedom and self-determination, a stance he said “is consistent with the goals of the organization in defending the values of freedom, justice and the right of peoples to self-determination”. The Sahrawi Republic was represented by the Minister of Vocational Training and Public Function Khira Bellahi, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mohammed Moloud Mohammed Fadel, and Sahrawi Ambassador to Venezuela and Ecuador, Mohamed Salem Daha.
The Namibian youths were made up of the members of the National Youth Council, the National Youth Service as well as members of the DTA Youth League and the Swapo Youth League, who chartered an Air Namibia plane to the South American country with the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Jerry Ekandjo, accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Justice Tommy Nambahu, and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Peya Mushelenga. Attending the opening ceremony was the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. The 18th World Festival of Youth and Students met under the theme ‘Youth unite against imperialism, for a world of peace, solidarity and social transformation.’
By Desie Heita