On The Significance Of Nandigram

Published on Countercurrents.org, by Ramsey Clark, 15 December, 2007.

I had an extremely moving and enlightening experience at Nandigram today. What happened in Nandigram reveals most aspects of the crisis facing all people in the planet today, something that is not quite understood by merely reading about it. People who have lived on the lands of their ancestors going back 1500 years, a beautiful people, attacked by their own Government, killed, injured, their homes burnt- 119 homes in one part of Nandigram, we saw the homes and talked to the survivors, their property taken or destroyed, many still missing. I saw a boy hit by a bullet in the front forehead, I could also see the exit wound. He was able to stand up, but was unable to talk. The death toll is far greater than what we are told. In one small area that we visited, people were sure of a hundred.

Why? Why is the Government doing this to its people? It is doing it so that powerful foreign interests can come on to the lands of the Indian people to exploit not only people of India, but people of the whole world. In the SEZ they are planning, you will find chemical companies, perhaps Dow Chemicals again. Can you imagine Dow Chemicals returning to India after Bhopal? That’s exactly what’s being planned, to pollute life, to exploit resources. One plan is to manufacture munitions there. To kill Iraqis, perhaps? What nations will be assaulted with these munitions?

We have to be united if we hope to stop the march of imperialism. The concentration of power that comes from imperialism becomes so dramatically clear in Nandigram. People utterly impoverished have lost all they had, their loved ones, their homes, so that wealth can come in, poison the environment there, exploit the rest of the country, concentrating wealth in fewer hands, while the masses get poorer and poorer …

I am not sure we will find a better battle cry today that brings
everything together than Nandigram- a struggle against power that destroys people and places for its own enrichment while impoverishing others. I hope we can carry the banner of these people, not just to help them, but to save ourselves from the march of imperialism which is at its most dangerous today… I am sure we will find ways to unite our action and our energies, and we then shall overcome. (full text).

(Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General, anti-imperialist campaigner and President of the US-based International Action Center, was in Kolkata to attend the Anti-Imperialist International Conference and rally organised by the All India Anti-Imperialist Forum from 27th to 29th November. On 29th November, he visited Nandigram for a first-hand experience of the situation there. Returning to the closing session of the Conference, he made the following brief speech on the significance of Nandigram).

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