The Non Aligned Movement (NAM) convenes in Tehran this week is what promises to be a gathering pregnant with decolonial possibilities. Held every 3 years, to mark the rotation of the organisation leadership, its fascinating that Iran are carrying the baton from that very different Egypt which held it's NAM summit in 2009, and will hand it over the Venezuela in 2015.
The next week will see a great deal of activity that we should follow carefully, and I wish I could be there. As PressTV was shunted of the UK airwaves a few months ago, and the western stance is hostile, insulting and disregarding decolonial actors, geeks and dreamers will have to try a little bit harder to know whats going on. The NAM News Network have provided the following link for the latest news from the summit. The clip below features opening remarks from the Foreign Secretary of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi and a practical account of the relevance of the NAM space today from the Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Mohammed Quayes.
Formed in 1961 as an international institution to enable countries of the world to resist falling into the US-Soviet polarity, NAM holds relevance today as a way of creating unity between countries at the bum end of the United Nation's (in)security Council, resisting neoliberal western (NATO) hegemony and a space to simply be and develop positions outside the bullying US-Euro-Zionist political nexus.
Imagine that formative meeting in Belgrade, with Tito (Yugoslavia), Nasser (Egypt), Nkrumah (Ghana), Nehru (India) and Sukarno (Indonesia). What have we (un)learnt since?
It is reported that 150 countries will have representation at the summit, from top tier leaderships, to foreign ministers to less senior/serious delegations. It is worth watching the short video interview with author of The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World Vijay Prashad, where he mulls over the significance of the event simply taking place.
Egypt's President Mursi is due to attend, unlike Turkey who despite recent awesomnesses on the international front are having a frosty time with Iran given their involvement in Syria and maybe even something to do with NATO. We hope that they do find a way to get there. Even the Saudis are sending a deputy Foreign Minister.
Hasina and Zardari, PMs of Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively will attend too, along with UN Sec Gen Ban Ki Moon. Tunisia is sending its foreign minister, as is North Korea. The Palestinians are disunited ( appears that Abbas has won over Haniyeh). And of course the ALBA countries will be in there too.
The summit is awkward and intriguing depending on your politics. Unsurprisingly, Israel and its allies (ally?) have been acting to delegitimise the event and prevent UN attendance. And Iran itself is not feild of cornflowers. Prof Hamid Dabashi, author of Brown Skin White Masks, has an interesting analysis of this summit's interaction with Iranian politics, from Mosadegh to Mousavi.
The symbolic power of the concept still rings loud, with Non-Alignment 2.0 currently doing the rounds of Indian foreign/security policy circles. (yikes)
To temporarily conclude, its heartening that more and more country groups are demonstrating disobedience to the terrorism and intimidation of the western powers. Decolonial Duas for this gathering, and its outcomes, tangible or otherwise. For updates, intrigues and explorations, you can follow the summit on the NAM News Network's pages.