18 March 2009

World Water Forum Sanitation for VIPs Only

... but sanitation not permitted to the more mundane attendants. So observes Meera Karunananthan, of the Council of Canadians.
Yesterday, I picked up my media accreditation for the World Water Forum. I now don't need to pay the exorbitant fee of 100 euros a day, which has kept so many of our comrades from having their voices heard at the international conference which is being promoted as open and democratic..

Maude [Barlow], Wenona Hauter, the Executive Director of Food and Water Watch, and I needed to use the bathrooms at the World Water Forum and discovered that there were separate bathrooms for the VIPs which we were not allowed to use. When we finally made our way to the ordinary people's bathrooms, we discovered there was no running water, so the toilets wouldn't flush and we couldn't wash our hands.

The symbolism is hard to ignore. It's a perfect statement about the World Water Forum's agenda serving the rich and powerful while the poor are denied access to water and sanitation. The VIPs have a special space reserved for their sanitation purposes, while the rest of us have no running water.

While toilets based on compost technology would have been preferable, providing separate facilities for VIP hands and butts goes beyond silly. It makes obvious who matters, the men already in charge, and who doesn't matter, the people who serve to keep the men in charge. Ironically, if the latter don't get their needs addressed, the former will plunge like felled trees from their lofty perches.

Read the whole article. 'Tis most enlightening.

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