Thursday, April 10, 2008

Old Friends

The Initiative of Five at a meeting in New York, 1960

Gregor and other people kept mentioning this "thing"to me, a "thing" in which Yugoslavia used to be a part of with a bunch of other countries including many African nations. As a result of said "thing" there were a lot of Africans coming to work and study in Yugoslavia and a lot of Yugoslavians going to work in Africa (and other places). I was never quite sure was this "thing" was so I finally sat down and Google'd it.

It turns out it was the Non-Aligned Movement. A group of nations whose purpose, according to the Wiki, is/was to ensure "the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries" in their "struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, Zionism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics." Wow! People used to have big ideas 50 years ago! I guess all that just sounds like crazy talk now. The picture at the heading of this entry features the founding members AKA "The Initiative of Five" (Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Sukarno of Indonesia and Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia). This picture is a great find, and I am most excited to see Nkrumah and Tito together since my family is from Ghana!

The group certainly seems to have had its ups and downs since the end of the Cold War, and the movement has weakened considerably, with most of the European countries have deserted the group to get (or vie for) EU membership. Nonetheless, my discovery of this group, has got me excited about the past and the future. It makes me feel like things are not so startling new here in Slovenia. It makes me feel like the world isn't so big and strange after all, and even though things have changed a lot in the last 50 years, maybe I'm just here to work with and live amongst long-lost old friends.


alcessa said...

Oooo, there even used to exist a club of international students in Ljubljana and many members were actually from Africa - though the Non-Aligned Movement was not that important in the 90ies, people still came here to study. That (slight) feeling of living in a "cosmopolitan" place...! Those parties!!! *goes away dreaming*

Tina. said...

This post warmed up my heart today! Thanks.

Camille Acey said...

@alcessa- i can only imagine! it was so eye opening to go to that salsa dancing party and meet up with people from peru and cuba and phillipines. all of us so far away from home, but having a nice time!

@tina - prosim! hvala tebi! :)