Sunday, October 26, 2008

Terra Madre 1

I have finally a connection but only for the next 15 minutes, and I cannot tell when I'll have one next.

Here's my short report on Terra Madre

Day 1: we reached Turin Airport after a red eye flight and we were all very tired. The great stadium where the opening was taking place started to fill up with people from all 4 corners of the world. After pottering about for 4 or 5 hours, we finally got into the opening ceremony. The speeches were gentle and brought nothing new (at least to me) on the themes of gender, civil society, local food, corporations and now youth. Among the speakers: Vandana Shiva and the mayor of Turin (who launched an attack on corporations. I can’t really understand that: his city practically lives off industrial corporate giants), a young American student. By the time we got to Carlo Petrini, who has achieved demi god status, I had dropped the wireless translation set. A friend who was there for the first time asked me: who is Petrini? I said: SF people worship him, like HA people worship Hassan Nasrallah. She asked: but can he deliver, like Nasrallah, or is it just talk? I didn’t have a convincing answer.I guess it depends what you want to deliver.

The Spanish youth choir was really good. My daughter Thurayya would have loved them.

The organizational weakness showed up when we were to be directed to the hotels: hundreds of stranded people waiting to be directed to their coaches and then to their hotels. I had to walk carting my luggage with a large group of people, and our guide unable to find the navetta to take us and give us some dinner and take us to the hotel, when all we wanted was a bed: we had been up for 36 hours. At the end I took a taxi to the hotel and slept without dinner. They should have subcontracted HA for the organization.

Day 2: this I spent mostly at the Lebanon Earth Markets stall. I attended the launch of the Manifesto on the future of agriculture and climate change, and Vandana also was the main speaker here. I'll blog more about this later.

Day 3: Many interesting things happened, but more later, I have to catch the only bus available from the hotel where I'm staying, some 40 k out of Turin...

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