To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), close to 500 delegates from across the world have made Namibia the meeting point to deliberate on ways to unite against imperialism.
WFDY was established on November 10, 1945 by young people after the Second World War with the promise to humanity they will maintain peace and solidarity in the world in an effort to avoid anti-imperialist conflicts in future that could create another world war.
Imperialism in various countries takes on different forms such as wars, neo-colonialism, lack of access to proper health care, education and the struggle for land, amongst many others. The anniversary theme “World youth unite against imperialism,” saw youth deliberating on imperialism issues that affect people in different countries.
Seventy years after the formation of WFDY, imperialism still exists, Nikolas Papadimitriou, the president of WFDY tells New Era.
“It’s important to unite and fight against imperialism. For us, imperialism is the main reason for the wars in the world,” says Papadimitriou who hails from Cyprus.
He says it is essential to try to maintain unity at an international level among the youth. “… That they fight against imperialism. They have the common target, they have the common goal to defeat imperialism,” he stated.
Meanwhile, 27-year-old Marwa Saab from the Communist Party of Lebanon who is the Vice-President of WFDY says the youth are important contributors towards peace in that they are very “dynamic”.
“They have the most time. They have new and developed ideas. But the youth are also not isolated to what came previously to them so they are the continuation of what came and they are the ones who are responsible to continue this legacy into the future,” Saab says.
Saab urged youth to be involved in social and political situations in their countries and make contributions at international platforms.
“We know that our problems are the same all over the world and I’m from Lebanon and there we also have poverty, we have problems with education, water, electricity and the economy,” she responded when asked if she has observed similarities between the youth issues of Namibia and her home country.
“We have common problems. We can be united so that we can solve these problems especially because our enemy is not an easy one. We have to be united internationally in order to defeat it,” Saab insisted.
Twenty-four-year old Duarte Alves of the Portuguese Communist Youth too believes that meeting in Namibia is worthwhile.
Discussions centred around what is anti-imperialism, the role of the youth in fighting imperialism, the challenges that participants are faced with in their countries, he shared with New Era.
“Imperialism has many expressions of aggression against the people,” says Alves. Neo-colonialism and wars are just some of the examples of these. In Portugal one of the problems the youth are faced with are the many attacks on their rights, he says.
“So we are faced with worse situations for the youth. The challenges of the Portuguese youth are different from those of the Namibian youth. But we must stand together and fight against imperialism,” Alves says.
Asked on how they benefitted from discussions and lectures, Saab notes that discussions were at a “developed level”. The presenters, she says, spoke from experience and concern. “What I have is that there are people in Namibia that care about Namibia and how to develop their country,” Saab elucidated.
“We came here to express our solidarity to the people of Namibia that they are here 25 years after their independence. They are supporting the Swapo Party which was a liberation movement. This is good. This shows the faith of the people in this party but they are also worrying about how they are going to get land,” Papadimitriou enlightened New Era.
There were concerns, however, that some lectures seemed to focus more on Namibia –considering that it was an international event.
“I think that is normal. It’s an international event but part of why we are here is to know about Namibia and through the discussions we got to know more about Namibia, how the people are thinking. It’s normal that the focus would be on Namibia and it is not something which is bad,” said Saab.
Alves concurred that it is very good the delegates got an opportunity to know what is happening in Namibia.
“It is a very rich programme in terms of us learning about what is really happening here. It’s very good actually. I don’t see it as a negative. At the same time we had the opportunity to discuss other aspects that do not concern Namibia only. We discussed the situation in Ukraine, Syria, Palestine and Western Sahara. We really had a global and international discussion,” continued Alves. Asked what is his message is to the youth of Namibia, Alves says: “Continue being united in your struggles to achieve new victories.”
Meanwhile, the secretary general of the DTA Youth League, Benson Katjirijova, was not impressed that national resources had to be used to make the WFDY activities possible in Namibia. He feels the money could have been used to address some of the challenges of the youth in the country instead of spending it on one political party only.
“This is a waste of the resources of our country. We should not misuse our funds because of one organisation,” Katjirijova said.
Also, he feels only youth affiliated to the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) were invited to take part in the WFDY activities.
“We were supposed to be informed so that we could also send delegates,” Katjirijova says. The chairperson of the WFDY National Preparatory Committee Edward Kafita said in response that it was the obligation of the National Youth Council to invite its affiliate organisations.
The WFDY started on May 11 and will conclude on Sunday May 17 and some of their events coincided with thse of the 12 May Movement that was established in recognition of the founding president Dr Sam Nujoma whose birthday was on May 12.