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La Via Campesina’s VII International Conference opens with the ringing of bells

As Elizabeth Mpofu, General Coordinator of La Via Campesina, observed in her opening speech “Our enemies are gigantic, which is why we must pool our strengths.”

The day began with a moving opening ceremony in which Basque farmers and artists used a folkloric parade to showcase the wealth of the Basque country’s peasant tradition. Shepherds in traditional dress made enormous bells on their backs chime in unison with every step they made. In the Basque country, these bells are used in rituals to awaken the land to Spring so that it can be cultivated or used as pasture.