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Global warriors get a new face

GLOBALISATION is not globalism. Globalism is the Olympics; globalisation is the IMF.

Globalism is caring about all people’s right to have a say in their nation’s destiny.

Globalisation is believing that the protesters against the IMF are a bunch of extremists, losers, ratbags, misguided youth, or organised troublemakers.

The online New York Times (September 24) item by Roger Cohen identifies a different, seriously committed, protester against the globalisation violation of human rights.

Meet Annie-Christine Habbard: “With her Danish mother, her Syrian father, her French passport and her Oxford education, Annie-Christine Habbard, 31, seems every inch the global citizen equipped to succeed in a shrinking world. Yet here she is, chic in black, articulate in several tongues, at the annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (in Prague), protesting the state of the globe. What she wants is more social justice, respect for human rights, a ‘counterpower’ to high finance and, for good measure, a more equitable distribution of the spoils from a new Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline”.

Ms Habbard is a very pragmatic lawyer and senior officer of the Paris-based International Federa-tion of Human Rights.

She is meeting with the president of the World Bank to prove that, according to inter-national law, the World Bank may not provide loans to any project that might compromise human rights.

There is a battery of lawyers behind her from more than 350 groups worldwide also determined to compel the World Bank to change its practices.

While the media continues to show the protests through the sensat-ionalised spectre of violence, Ms Habbard and her peers are corporate boardroom operators, representing what the NY Times identifies as an “increasingly sophisticated, intellectually robust protest movement mixing idealism with pragmatism, that is fast playing catch-up with the forces of multinational capital”.

n Ann Macbeth is a futurist and principal of Annimac consultants.

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