Sunday, April 13, 2008

US Students on Solidarity cum Research visit to Colamb

US University Students visited Colamb, Sanguem for the purpose of Research and Solidarity with People fighting Fomento mining company for destroying their agriculture, forest and water sources. They toured the mines, interacted with the villagers and offered Solidarity. Their visit lasted for three days from 13 to 15 October 2007. They were on Goa visit supervised by their teacher Prof. Douglas who teaches semester course 'Social Justice, Peace and Development'.
Besides Colamb, they also visited Dempo mines in Bicholim. However they were prevented from taking pictures of the ecological genocides of Bicholim perpetuated by Dempos for the fear that the Company may get exposed in International media. Ramesh Gauns Accompanied students in Bicholim while Rama Velip facilitated the Colamb visit. Mand too was involved in this educational venture in the form of critical inputs. Here are their reflections sent to Reggie Gomes by their Indian cordinator David Selvaraj on March 28 2008:

Hi Reggie,

Excuse the delay in writing to you. I have been nursing a bad back. Unfortunately I have not had a written feedback from the students from the US. Let me reconstruct for you their feedback.

a. The topography was 'awesome' and to see the damage done by the mines was horrible. In other words it was important to recognise the beauty of nature that was being commodified.

b. The hospitality was incredible. This was a repeated message. The students were able to recognise that the hosts and members of the community were not doing what they did because of commercial value but because they respected and accepted the guest.

c. The students were also able to see the immense courage of the people in the village. They were able to see that the people were faced with a Goliath (mining companies) and yet the small "powerless" community were prepared to challenge the injustices.

d. The students also had questions about whether or not this struggle could be sustained. What is needed towards this end.

e. It lit the students head to know that the mines are catering for the Olympics. A classic example of how global capitalism works. How resources of the poor are being depleted and used for the benefit of a "global community"

f. The students were also begining to make links with similar situations in their own country. And today in many ways corporate interests rule America. Today America recognises a large number of the impoverished and do not want to accept that the current paradigm of development is not sustainable. Why then does India follow this path?

Trust this helps. Please give my salaams to the people in the struggle.

Greetings of hope and life.

David Selvaraj

No comments: