Exceeding 30,000 participants and 4,000 nongovernmental organizations, the 2013 World Social Forum is said to be one of the biggest since its launch in Porto Alegre, Brazil back in 2001.
In addition to taking part in, and attending, various events in the Forum, BADIL held a two-hour workshop on “The Palestinian Refugees and Their Right of Return”. In this workshop, BADIL outlined its holistic approach to Palestinian ongoing Nakba and displacement, the political fragmentations imposed on the Palestinians.
BADIL’s holistic approach defines the Nakba as an ongoing process that affects all Palestinians. BADIL holds that the analysis of the refugee problem should not be bound to any geographical location, nor a time frame (i.e. not limited to a specific group of refugees) – both are fragmentations that only serve the Israeli policies. Alternatively, BADIL calls for recognizing the root causes of the conflict if we aim to arrive at a just peaceful resolution in Palestine. Such a comprehensive approach is evident in BADIL’s first-of-its-kind research, surveying Palestinian youth from seven locations from across the Middle East (Israel, East Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon).
This research (which you are invited to read at the following link), that looks at Palestinian self-identification among the third and fourth generations is of a paramount importance, and thusly received great attention and interest from people attending the workshop. The importance of this research lies in the fact that it shows clear patterns of Palestinian unified identity and fate. This, sometimes overlooked aspect of Palestinian identity sheds a bright light of hope that the attempts of the Israeli regime politically fragment the Palestinians have not completely succeeded. More importantly, if the Palestinian political institutions reflected the sentiments expressed by youth in this survey, things would start moving towards a better resolution to their predicament of continuous displacement and alienation. This was the message that was presented by BADIL during the discussion, and which gathered most attention from participants who were interested in ways to raise more awareness in their countries regarding BADIL’s rights-based approach.
The World Social Forum is an annual meeting of non-governmental organizations from five continents “that stimulates the decentralized debate, reflection, proposals building, experiences exchange and alliances among movements and organizations engaged in concrete actions towards a more solidarity, democratic and fair world....a permanent space and process to build alternatives to neoliberalism.” Usually it tends to meet at the same time as its “great capitalist rival”, the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. This date is consciously picked to promote their alternative answers to world economic problems in opposition to the World Economic Forum.
BADIL is a regular participant in the World Social Forum. This gathering is a great opportunity for BADIL to advocate for the rights of Palestinian refugees – primarily their right to return to their homes and villages. Moreover, it presents an opportunity to expand BADIL’s relationships, and deepen alliances with supporting organizations from all over the globe.