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Greetings from Hong Kong–Monday, December 12, 2005

The following post is by Dena Hoff, farmer from Montana, Secretary of the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), former chair of the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) and member of the Northern Plains Resource Council. She is part of a delegation of U.S. farmers and farmworkers protesting against the WTO in Hong Kong with the Via Campesina this week. Grassroots Journal is very excited to be hosting these reports from inside the protest.

We are gearing up for our first major Via Campesina rally tomorrow. The largest farmers’ delegations are arriving and settling in today, getting oriented and meeting each other, many of us for the first time.

Hong Kong is a giant shopper’s paradise. Shopping seems to be a major recreational hobby with streets packed late into the night. Bling everywhere among the Christmas decorations.

George Naylor, Carlos Moreno, Rebecca Kessinger and I are busy attending meetings, doing press work and interviews, and helping coordinate the various events.

Tomorrow is the official opening of the 6th WTO Ministerial which will be attended by those of us in LVC, with official accreditation, including George and myself who will be part of the « inside » strategy with the help of Rebecca and Carlos coordinating with the « outside » strategy in an attempt at effective action.

The media is largely hostile. Reporters repeatedly ask what kind of violence we are planning, and yesterday’s very peaceful march hosted by the Hong Kong People’s alliance seems to have been a big disappointment to the press.

Hong Kong has a huge population of migrant workers, including over 100,000 young women from Indonesia who live and work in unbelievable conditions in order to earn money to send home. For many of the children left behind in Indonesia, the choice was between having their mothers and eating.

We are here in Hong Kong to stop draconian trade policies which push people off the land, force migration, and force families to be torn apart in order to simply survive. This is not the world we want to live in.

Please spread the word at home, educate your neighbors, and pressure our « leaders » to put people before profit.

More tomorrow as the « inside » drama unfolds.

–Dena Hoff

P.S. Gado Gado is habit forming (look it up here on Wikipedia).