Hiba Laameri is a 15-year-old Tunisian girl who attended the World Social Forum. Below is the lightly edited transcript of a short conversation with her after she participated in one of the sessions.
I am 15 years old I am here in the forum because it’s a beautiful opportunity and I might not get it again. It’s in my country – I might not get to travel in the future to go to the forum.
I like to read. Really, I love books. You would always see me carrying a book around, reading it. I read all kinds of literature, I watch a lot of movies and my favorites are documentaries. I don’t know if that’s common at my age but I love documentaries and whenever I hear about some subject I am really curious I want to know more about it. And I see that my peers may not enjoy that, but you have no idea how much I enjoy knowing more.
It’s inspiring to see all these people and it just really inspired me because I’ve always been a person to see what’s wrong and I’ve always thought to myself, “Why wont somebody do something about that?” And these days at the Forum I realized I was somebody. Everyone here, we’re somebody. We should just get together and work, spread awareness of our causes, work together.
I don’t think the revolution in Tunisia is doing so well. We have our freedom, we can speak: an event like this would not have been possible in Ben Ali’s time. But capitalism is still there, imperialism is still there. Nothings changed socially, economically, culturally. Nothing has changed except we have more freedom and Ben Ali’s changed and now he’s been replaced by some other people who are carrying on the same international policies.
Here at the World Social Forum, it’s an anticapitalist movement. I am aware that I cannot expect this country to change on it’s own because we can’t survive as an anticapitalist nation in a capitalist world. You have to all change together. But I’d like to see them start, I’d like to see the beginning of policy changes. I’d like to see them building for something new, rather than continuing the same thing that is already wrong.
As for the Arab Spring, it’s a good beginning because people are seeing that something is wrong. Maybe they haven’t realized exactly what is wrong but at least some people are trying. And it feels so good to see everyone gathered here and see that they are aware that we need change. I am more hopeful now, from having been here.