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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

World Bank and Wolfensohn

If you listen (its not in the text summary) to the "All Things Considered" NPR story on James Wolfensohn (today's his last day at the World Bank) at the link below, you'll hear a reference to "two young men who climbed the World Bank to protest China" and how Wolfensohn ended up having a "vigorous debate" with them. This, of course, is referencing our successful action and campaign against the World Bank a few years back!

All Things Considered Story and Audio Link

So long, Wolfensohn, and hello Wolfowitz. Ugh.


  • At 7:54 PM, Blogger cold mtn said…

    Yeah, and I was one of the 2 young men who scaled the Bank... and that Wolfie "said he wanted to meet" according to the staffer. The story is wrong on at least 3 accounts. First - we weren't protesting a "dam in western China." We were trying to stop (and succeeded) a project that involved the relocation of nearly 60,000 ethnic Han Chinese into a region formerly known as "Tibet" poulated by Tibetan nomads and Mongolians, part of the Chinese government's strategy to dienfranchise Tibetans by simply overwhelming their populations. A dam and irrigation project was merely a component of the relocation project. Next, the staffer says that as we were "about to unfurl a banner," Wolfensohn let us know he wanted to meet us at which point we happily came down from the building. In fact, we unfurled the banner, spent a couple hours perched up there with police and a raucous support rally down below and relayed our demand that Wolfensohn meet with us through public relations staffer Peter Stephens (we spoke to SFT Board member Kathy Nikeefe on an FRS radio - she went and relayed our demand to Stephens who was outside assessing the situation). Management then called Wolfensohn who was at a meeting over at Treasury and we waited until he came back to the Bank before descending to meet him. Lastly, we did not have a vigorous debate for 2 hours. Along with a crew of people, Tibetans and supporters, we spoke mostly to Bank management directly responsible for the project for maybe an hour and Wolfensohn spent only about half an hour, the bulk of which he spent smirking, condescending to us, and telling us repeatedly how he was a close personal friend of the Dalai Lama. Then, for another year, he "vigorously" defended the fucked-up project and tried to appease the Chinese government. It's amazing how these bastards re-write history... Wolfensohn is suddenly Gandhi. Then again, next to Paul Wolfowitz, damn near anyone looks like Gandhi.

  • At 8:16 PM, Blogger tendor said…

    Sharp posting, pal.
    Thank goodness you remember the event clearly. These old liars would rewrite the past - and the future - if they could!


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