Bandung Spirit offers solutions to 21st-century global ills

By Mammo Muchie and Yan Hui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, April 27, 2015
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Bandung Spirit still relevant [By Jiao Haiyang/]

Just over 60 years ago, between April 18-24, 1955, 29 countries from Africa and Asia held the Bandung Conference in Indonesia with the objective of building inter-Asian-African cooperation and promoting complete decolonization.

The Bandung Conference inspired the creation of the non-aligned movement and the Third World by deciding not to side with either the Western powers led by the United States or the Eastern bloc led by the former Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The conference also pledged not to rely on Western foreign aid but on building strong economic relations between Asia and Africa on the principles of mutual benefit and friendship.

One of the key outcomes of the Bandung Conference was the Afro-Asian hope to open opportunities for the Global South — representing largely Asian, African, Latin American and Oceanic countries — to have a voice in world affairs.

The creation of a non-aligned space to seek freedom from joining either the USA or the Soviet Union camp was a clear objective.

Though in many ways the Bandung Conference was a turning point in attempting to construct a post-colonial international political order, we still live in a world where imperialism, colonialism, war, exploitation, injustice and unfairness complicate the political and economic space.

New global re-order

What was voiced at Bandung as the anti-colonial spirit and the aspiration for building a world order that appreciates rather than ignores the Global South still remain largely unfulfilled.

We need a new and revitalized Bandung Conference spirit and a strong Global South to put on the agenda a total post-colonial reality to guide the architecture of a new global re-order.

The world is now a more unpredictable place. The Bandung Conference should be revisited to help efforts to promote and create a much-needed predictable, stable, secure, peaceful, fair, equitable and sustainable world re-order.

This would put first what was last in order to remove the cost to the disadvantaged and create the opportunity for an equal partnership on the principle of mutual benefit among all nations on earth.

Strong traditional values such as Ubuntu — the southern African concept of a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity — should be promoted to create a new humane civilization that can anchor world diplomacy on deep principles that recognize and appreciate that to hurt any people and nation is tantamount to hurting all in the world.

The organized hypocrisy of world diplomacy should be replaced with Ubuntu world diplomacy.

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