This is a guest post from Alex Dwek who is at the Durban Review conference.
9 am – We discovered that our passes had been taken away from us, due to the actions of certain students the previous day. So whilst we were trying to regain our accreditation we decided to do some media work and see what the coverage of the conference had been like.
In the build up to Durban II, the only press giving the conference substantial coverage were the Israeli newspapers and the Jewish Chronicle. Well now every paper worldwide was talking about the UN anti-racism conference. Every paper from the Times (where it made front page), to the Sydney Herald, South African Times, Washington Post, Le monde and Le Figaro. Every paper was talking about the three Jewish students dressed up as clowns who stood up to Ahmadinejad.
The three French Students who had been involved in ‘Clowngate’ had been released without charge and were given a hero’s welcome. They even eventually received full accreditation back into the UN. Even though it was the following day they were still wearing their wigs!
News had got back that the British mission weren’t planning on leaving, so we decided it was time to pile up the pressure, launching a Facebook campaign demanding that they withdraw, along with many phone calls to local MPs and the FCO. It got to the point where the Commons switchboard was refusing to transfer people to their MPs if it was about Durban.
We have 600 people already signed up today but we need to get as many as possible to put pressure on the British delegation. So please join the group.
By the afternoon we successfully managed to convince UN security to reaccredit us.
At 5pm the day finished with a large protest for Darfur in the Palais des Nations outside the UN. This was widely attended by students and community members from all over the world, along with a group of Darfuri refugees. The rally was a huge success with buses and cars honking their horns in support as they drove past. The genocide in Darfur, where more than 300,000 people have killed, is a wake-up call – this is the sort of issue the UN should be talking about at Durban II. The fact is that Darfur has not been mentioned even once.
Overall, a very different atmosphere to the previous day, but exciting nonetheless.
Alex is an Economics and Politics student at the University of Manchester. He represents the University of Manchester at the National Union of Jewish students. He is in Geneva as part of a world Jewish student task force and will report for Oy Va Goy throughout the week.