Saturday 24 April 2010, by DK // BANDUNG SPIRIT

Historically associated to the Asian-African Conference held in Bandung (West Java, Indonesia) in 1955, within the context of decolonisation and Cold War, Bandung Spirit can be summarised as a call for 1) a peaceful coexistence between nations, 2) the liberation of the world from the hegemony of any superpower, from colonialism, from imperialism, from any kind of domination of one country by another, 3) the equality of races and nations, 4) building solidarity towards the poor, the colonised, the exploited, the weak and those being weakened by the world order of the day, and 5) their development.

Bandung 1955
In April 1955, an event that became a turning point in world history took place: the Asian-African Conference in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. The well-known leaders of newly independent countries of Asia and Africa took part actively in the meeting: Chou En-Lai, John Lionel Kotalawela, Mohammed Ali, Nasser, Nehru, Soekarno, U-Nu and others. It is the first time in world history that representatives of the former colonised nations united their forces and proposed alternatives to the hegemony of the superpowers. It is the birthday of the so-called Third World countries, the New Emerging Forces, the Developing Countries. Since that time, the voice of marginalized peoples has been taken into account in the world order. It has led to the decolonisation of the whole of Asia and Africa and to the formation of a Non-Aligned Movement as the Third Way between the Two Blocs of Superpowers. It has contributed enormously to the evolution of humanity towards a more just and peaceful world.

Since 2005
50 years later, colonisation has officially disappeared, the Cold War has ended, the Non-Aligned Movement has almost lost its reason of being. Humankind has entered into a new era of civilisation generated by the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs): Globalisation. Yet, similar systems of domination by the powerful in the world order persists, wars continue to threaten humanity and injustice has appeared in more sophisticated forms and larger dimensions. Where is our world going? Is a better world still possible? Is there any alternative to the present course of globalisation?

In Search of Alternatives
Those questions explain why the 50th anniversary of the Bandung Asian-African was commemorated enthusiastically, not only by the governments of African and Asian countries, but also by peoples in Africa and Asia as well as in other parts of the world.

While the governments of African and Asian countries were united to celebrate the anniversary by organising an Asian-African Summit in Jakarta and Bandung in April 2005, civil society organisations commemorated the anniversary in diverse places, times and ways: Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mali, Srilanka, Thailand, USA, etc.

Since that time, a network of social and solidarity movements has been developing under the name of Bandung Spirit Network which objective is to find answers to those questions.

Bandung of States and Bandung of Peoples
During the colonial period and the Cold War, the governments/states (of Africa and Asia) were the representation of their peoples’ dreams. However, post-colonial development, especially since 1970s, has made appear the distinction between the aspirations of the peoples and the interests of the governments. The end of the Cold War has accentuated this separation, while the course of economic globalisation has provoked the emergence and the growth of transnational social and solidarity movements. The legacy of Bandung does therefore not only belong to the states, but also to the peoples beyond national boundaries. That is why the activities based on Bandung Spirit organised by peoples or civil society organisations should not be seen as competitors or opponents of the states or governments, but as expressions of peoples’ participation in the collective search for alternatives to the present course of globalisation.

The logo of Bandung Spirit was designed for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Bandung Asian-African Conference 1955 organised by civil society movements in Indonesia on April 2005. It takes a form of a flower as a symbol of love and peace. The number of petals (50) refers to the 50th anniversary, while the five colours symbolise five continents and their cultural diversity. The composition of the petals is such that it gives impression of a collective movement following the movement of the hands of clock, symbolising dynamism, interdependence and solidarity following the time. The logo designer is Erwinton P. Napitupulu, Indonesian architect based in Bandung.

This website
This website is dedicated to Bandung Spirit-based activities organised by peoples and civil society organisations.