Social march or disengaged carnival?

Let me start with the obvious: there were many socially-minded and serious people at the inaugural march of the WSF. There was a lot of fun, a lot of joy, as repeatedly said by the set of artists who enacted the cultural sketch at the inauguration ceremony. The WSF is a joyful feast of young people and this is as it should be. The WSF is a space open to all, and one should not be surprised to find oneself walking side by side with a group from Caritas and an association of gay people; to read almost simultaneously one banner proclaiming the right of Israel to exist and another asking for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza. If you are not comfortable with this strange combination you would do well to stay home. But those who did not come have missed not only an experience of the true nature of diversity but also the actual difficulty we find in facing it.