Speech Of Dr.Helmi Al-Hadidi, President Of AAPSO At The International Conference On The 60th Anniversary Of Bandung


Speech of Dr.Helmi Al-Hadidi, President of AAPSO at the International Conference on the 60th Anniversary of Bandung—"The Vision of Bandung"to be held in Khatmandu, the capital of Nepal.


It is a great pleasure for me to be in this "Himalayan City"of Khatmandu, the capital of the newest "Republic of Nepal."This is my first visit to Nepal and I am enamoured by its natural scenic beauty of the surroundings which added to the warmest hospitality of the Nepali friends.Although Nepal is a landlocked country sandwiched between two gaints –"China and India", it is a highly patronised tourist destination specially for those who desire to track the Mountain range of Himalayas including "Mount Everest", the highest peak in the world.

Nepal is certainly the appropriate country to speak on the new vision of Bandung in the 21st century as it was the only independent country in the region not colonised by the British. As the President of AAPSO, I pay homage to Late President Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt, "a Visionary Leader" who defied imperialism and nationalised the Suez Canal in 1956 to uphold the dignity of the Egyptian people and assisted the liberation movements in the African continent to free them from colonialism. The forces sent by Anglo-French Alliance to re-capture the Suez only underestimated the strength of the colonial people who had already consolidated the unity of Afro-Asian people in the 1955 Bandung conference. The war sustained heavy losses to French and British whose invasion ended in a fiasco and defeat and compelling Anthony Eden, the British Prime Minister to resign. This heightened the prestige of Egypt specially President Nasser who emerged as the 'tallest' leader of the African continent.

I also pay my deep appreciation for the Napali people, despite limitations, for their admirable role in regional and international politics by becoming an origional participant of the Bandung Conference in 1955.Being a close friend of both India and China, Nepal had already put forward the policy of peaceful co-existence to practise before others.
As we all are well aware I do not wish to repeat the history of Bandung Conference. It was based on the"five Pillars of Nations known as Pancha Seela." The Pancha Seela concept was enuncinted by Indias'Prime Minister Nehru and Chinas'Prime Minister Chou-En-Lai in their joint agreement. Since Bandung these five principles were accepted as the cornerstone of the state to state relations. They are:-

1- Mutual respect for each others territorial integrily and soverignty.
2- Mutual Non-aggression.
3- Mutual Non-interference in domestic affairs.
4- Equality and Mutual benefit.
5- Peaceful co-existence.

Nehru, a farsighted statesman was the first leader in Asia to take initiative to normalise relations with the resurgant China in 1949 when the communist Party of China formed the "Peoples' Republic of China" overthrowing the corrupt regime of 'Chiang-Kai-Sheik backed by the U.S.A.This agreement was hailed by all Indians as a great vision and the popular slogan then was "Hindi –Chini Bhai Bhai" (Indians and Chinese are brothers).

This Spirit was carried further when Nehru was personally responsible for inviting Chou-En-Lai to the Bandung Conference despite opposition from some Asian Leaders such as Sir John Kotalawala, the then Prime Minister of Ceylon ( Srilanka). In addition Nehru sent an Indian aircraft to bring Chou-En-Lai to the Bandung Conference. Indonesia set up a historical museum in Bandung to commomerate the Bandung Conference and one could get a glimpse of the photographic panorama of this historical event.Invitation to China was a golden opportunity for new China to reach to the liberation movements in Africa and the independent countries in Asia and Africa.

Even after sixty years, the Bandung principles are still valid as the world is yet to be liberated from continuing poverty and conflicts and weapons of mass destruction. The sentiments expressed by Late President Gamal Abdul Nasser at the Bandung Conference are still relevant today. I quote:-"It is my deep conviction that the co-operation among the Asian-African Nations can play a dominant role in lessening of the present international tension and the promotion of world peace and prosperity.

At this time when the United Nations passes through what I may call a crisis, the conference bears a special responsibility, that is to restore to the people of the world by practical steps and concerted action their faith in the reality of internatioal justice and the workability of international co-operation.

All over the world there is a growing sense of insecurity and fear of war has been aggravated by the development of mass destructive weapons capable of effectively to annihilation," ( unquote)
The vision of Bandung was not confined to bringing the two continents of Asia and Africa together to dispel colonialism and consolidating solidarity only. It developed a farsighted philosophy, to develop these newly liberated countries to provide better facilities in education, health, agriculture and infrastructure, so that they could sustain independently.

Bandung vision envisaged economic cooperation, cultural cooperation and Human Rights and Self-determination. These targets were not only to attain in considering the enormous backwardness in most of the former colonies. Secondly they needed more assistance from developed countries, who would provide only with a price, the price which is not easy for them to pay. Fortunately some of the developing countries such as India were in a better position to assist.

In addition the existance of a socialist camp was an opportunity to get some assistance on a reasonable basis.Therefore, Bandung parleys led to the organisation of the non-aligned movement in 1961 in Belgrade for a better deals through co-operative strength.After the Bandung Conference,initiative was taken by Asian leaders to contact President Nasser in order to bring about the broadest unity among the colonial people of the both continents.President Nasser played a prominent role and in 1956 with President Tito convend a meeting at Brioni, the holiday resort of Yugoslav president where Tito, Nehru, and Nasser met together and formalated the idea of Non-Aligned Movement. Accordingly the first meeting of the NAM was convened in 1961 in Balagrade. Over the years the Non –aligned Movement (NAM) became a formidable force in the United Nations to be the strongest contingency. Through their action they were able to achieve many of their targets in their development projects such as in agriculture, education and health facilities. Some countries such as India had made remarkable achievements in Science and Technology and education even during the colonial periods. Hence India was in better position to assist other less fortunate ones both in Asia and Africa.

We will continue to support the Palestinian in whatever decision they take for the benefits of their country, AAPSO also will continue to support the main target of the Palestinian to end the Israeli occupation and to have their independent state based on resolution 242 and the boarders of 1967.

Bandung spirit was the guiding principles of the Non-Aligned Movement. Starting as a base the five principles,the so called Pancha Seela ,Bandung conference further elaborated the "Pancha Seela" and developed with much detail as the" Dasa Seela"or Ten principles.

• Respect for fundamental human rights and the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
• Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations.
• Recognition of the movements of national independence.
• Recongnition of the equality of races and the equality of all nations large and small.
• Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.
• Respect for each nation to defend itself singly or collectively in conformity with the charter of the United Nations.
• Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or the political independence of any country.
• Settlement of international disputes by peaceful means in conformity with the Charter of United Nations.
• Promotion of mutual interest and co-operation.
• Respect for justice and international obligation.

One of the principles of the Non-Aligned Movement was that none of the member countries would allow their territories to be used as foreign bases of either of the power blocs. But it does not mean that they would be strictly nutral between war and peace. As Prime Minister Nehru pointed out in explaining the concept of Non-alignment, he said NAM cannot be "nutral between war and peace."

Bandung principles and the Non-aligned movement was in the high spirit till the mid 1970's but from there on it gradually declined owing to several factors. One of them is that big countries in the non-aligned movement started to highlight their national interest as against the common interest in the NAM movement. As a result the smaller and poorer countries were powerless to assert against the large countries. As a result, the issue of good governess deteriorated specially in some African and Asian countries in the NAM bloc by deviating from democracy and indulging in family bandism. This has greatly harmed NAM movement for some countries it has become only a routine activity only attending summits.
Secondly the civil society movements did not pay adequate attention to the Non-aligned movement to move forward. Either this movement became apendage to their respective governments or remains dorment.

The Charishma of the Non-Aligned Movement started to diminish owing to various factors. In the East China was fast rising economically to be the second biggest economy in the world and developing bilateral relations with almost allthe developing countries and providing economic assistance. China used the Bandung principles to enter the African continent and consolidated their relationship by building railways, hospitals, trades and educational institution. Hence these countries found that this new relationship is more advantageous than NAM which only became a "talking shop".
Moreover several regional organisations were set up with the purpose of upliftment of economies such as the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) and SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Co-operation). All the members of these groups were active in the NAM. But they found the regional grouping; have become more active than the NAM. Today both ASEAN and SAARC play a more formidable role than the NAM. Espically in their development activities.

In Latin America, a group of countries such as Brazil, Venezuala, Cuba, Chile etc formed a new left oriented group as against the hegemony of the U.S. This group also set up a common bank as against the World Bank. Although these regional groups work as a part of NAM but more active in the group activities which has brought positive dividends.

Thirdly, there are many civil society organisations which have come up in all parts of the world who work more independly. There are also civil society organisations which are indirectly funded by the U.S. and the European Union. These organisations function outside the NAM movement and are not much concern about the" Bandung Spirit".As for civil society peoples movement such as AAPSO " Bandung Spirit " is an important factor that cannot be written off. Therefore AAPSO has a responsibility to strengthen the Bandung principles.

In a globalised world with the rapid advancement of scientific and technological innovations, tremendous changes were brought about to the people.In this atmosphere no country can live in isolation. This resulted in setting up groups such as Group of 20 which included both developed and developing countries. NAM countries who are members of such groups take more interest in such group than NAM.

Shanghai co-operation council is another grouping founded by China and Russion which has emerged as a powerful group with several countries in Central Asia. It meets regulary and acts effectively as a counter weight to NATO.
AAPSO is still based on its National Committees which are more archaic. If Bandung spirit is to be carried forword, the old structure of AAPSO needs to be changed in keeping with new development.

Although 60 years have passed Bandung vision is still relevant since some of the issues discussed still remain unresolved, specially the human rights and good governess and extend democratic rights to the people at large. Democracy does not mean only holding of periodic election.It is more than that. Democracy need to be participatory of the people in every day activity. What is needed today is to uphold the spirit of Bandung from the grassrot level so that people would be alert to the transparency, good governess and eradicating all forms of corruption and nepotism. Let us hope that this conference is another initiative to give a wake up call to both the civil society and the governments to rethinking of the Bandung vision once again.