Dear Kaylash

It is three days since I left beautiful mythical India. It was truly difficult to take leave of so much sincerity and affection. I left my heart there and instead I have taken with me tens of young happy hearts.
During the congress and the following days, as you had important work to do, including your trip to New York and Portugal, there wasn’t enough time to express my gratitude regarding the Delhi Conference. Our next meetings were taken up by visits to the children’s rehabilitation centre and other tasks. With your permission, in this letter of thanks I would like to express my gratitude to you and other friends and colleagues in Global March, to the Delhi office, dear Pabiji, your wife and one of the most effective campaigners for children’s right, as well as recounting my impressions of the congress.
No doubt the spirit of the final resolution of the Italian congress on the world’s child labourers had given it a historic importance. The first congress was a call on humanity to abolish child labour and defend the rights of women, children and those who are victims of more pressures than any other group in society and this call was made by passionate young men and women who had been touched by such pressures in their harsh lives and understood the need to raise these demands.
But the Delhi congress was beautiful. It broke with tradition, it was progressive and revolutionary. The most important distinguishing factor about the second congress was the active participation of the children and the extent of their cooperation and intervention during the congress. Their absolute united presence was a result of their common suffering in the past and their joint commitment to future aims. Children who were from over 20/30 different countries but shared the same destiny, similar hopes and ideals, at times without understanding each others language. They were stuck so close to each other that nothing could have separated them. And this unity, itself a result of their common aim, irrespective of differences in gender, language, custom and culture was impressive and educational. The second point is that the recognition of child labour in India, the freedom of speech in the congress and beyond it in India, was another positive aspect. However in Italy, although we all know child labour exists in that country like in many other places in the world, the presence of the Mafia was used as an excuse to cover up this problem and to stop the genuine representatives of the children attending the congress, and this annoyed many of the delegates. The other positive point about the second congress, in addition to the fact that all delegates and observers were subject to rational and specific discipline, irrespective of whether participants were hosts or guests the congress was open. Those interested in its work could get be in touch with it and be influenced by its sessions. However in my opinion, the Italian congress was closed, we did see warm, impressive interventions by the children but 149 delegates were deprived of participation and this left a vacuum in the whole process. The composition of the first congress was mainly an adult one there were no joint adult/children sessions or if such sessions did take place they were not public. In Delhi, participation was solid in both the congress, artistic programs and the special festival of the congress, which was a joyful occasion, raising our spirits and making us forget the tiredness of the journey.
In the second congress, there was a warm happy feeling of being with the children, being influenced by their capabilities and their relentless energy. Serious discussions took place beside playful happy children and that will be my lasting memory of the congress. This congress could also be called an education session for the adults. I for one learnt a lot from the children and I hope my affection for them will lead me to make practical use of this education, strengthening my work. Even as far as order and security measure were concerned the Delhi conference was superior to the event in Italy. I remember clearly that in the conference in Florence we were deprived of internet communication for hours as apparently the computers were attacked by viruses sent by ‘terrorist’ groups. These and tens of other points distinguish the Delhi and Florence conferences. May be the only shortcoming of the Delhi conference was the absence of any children from Europe to accompany children of labour. I think such congresses should take place intermittently between the advanced and developing countries and in all of them there should be provisions for the participation of children from all over the world. We must overcome all the prejudices that stop the participation of European children in Asian congresses, we must educate and inform and use additional facilities for a more widespread participation of children.
From the bottom of my heart I thank you and all the organisers of the congress. The organisation was fantastic from the information material to the beautiful posters and designs. The spirit of cooperation and sincerity was unique, your hospitality overwhelmed us and all this added to the natural beauty of the location, unusual butterflies and the delightful singing of the birds, left an aesthetic memory in our minds.
The warmth of young hearts whose honest activities, despite all the ugliness of our world gave hope of a better future for humanity. Youth who in their own world are ‘today’. The candle you and the delegates of the second world congress lit will undoubtedly guide noble humans throughout the world. I am of course referring to those who are not overwhelmed by capital relations and the essence of their humanity, i.e. the will for liberation in this dammed world of capitalist alienation remains. I am grateful to you my dear friend. You and your activities together with my young worker friends have reinforced my optimism abut humanity, freedom and the certainty that the world must change. Let me tell you in all honesty, that although I was no stranger and for my part I had been involved in the global march for 6 years and it is 10 years that I have been involved in the campaign to abolish child labour and to defend children’s rights both in campaigns and in writings, the second congress and the demonstration of 35,000, walking with Censio Aujuy and other children working in Transformer Motor gave me renewed energy. In a word, the high level of consciousness of the children, their deep trust of the adults in the campaign, which could be seen from the way they looked up to you and others, led to the logical direction of campaign to abolish child labour and the following was formulated: free compulsory, high quality education as part of the most legitimate demands of adult workers, women and other sections of society. One of the issues that concerned me and other participants in Florence, Italy, was lack of sufficient number of translators. But in India there were enough translators and all participants managed to be involved in warm discussions.
 

I thank you for giving me the chance to see so much beauty!
Your friend and fellow campaigner
Sussan Bahar
6Oct 2005