The recent Build Peace conference that focused on “peace through technology” was an excellent opportunity to realize just how important the role technology is when it comes to peacebuilding.
Since 2003, I have been working in the peace building sector where my primary area of expertise has been working in indigenous means of conflict transformation on the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.Read more
To get my message across I use print and electronic media, which in our case means using CDs, radio and television to spread knowledge at the grassroots and share it with others and in turn to get feedback. At the conference, I found further guidance and inspiration learning how my colleagues were getting their own messages across via SMS, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, cartoons, music and many other ways.
I am excited at the prospect of replicating some of these methods myself back home.
It was also good opportunity to sit with like-minded people to discuss and learn from one another’s experience. For me, it was good occasion as being from a developing country I was able to share my in-depth knowledge of change with other change-makers who often look west for new ideas.
Knowledge and wisdom are everywhere – not just “the west”. I believe that by harnessing the power of technology, and melding it with our traditional context, we can achieve a meaningful peace.
The most relevant example that I presented was “Da pa sa”, my weekly television programme on violent conflict. The programme touches on all the different interrelated facets at play: issues of religion, “tradition”, “values” and sin – as well as stereotypes and the role of community elders and modern legal systems.
Since I am working in deeply conservative areas, women’s participation in social affairs is not allowed. My TV programme reaches inside homes, where men, women, and children all have access. One question I had at the conference was, how to use new technology to achieve this same goal?
My question received a positive response from many colleagues and I got good feedback, which will be very useful for the future.
Grassroots approaches and the use of technology also become more important with the changing trend of conflict from inter- to intra-state. Now each problem needs to be addressed with a local solution. But how can one spread such local wisdom and knowledge to the wider world? The ultimate answer again lies in technology.
We also addressed some confusing questions that stem from the interaction of technology with peace and conflict. Questions such as:
• What is terrorism?
• What’s the difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist?
• Why are some people and places labelled with negative images whereas others are not?
• And, most importantly perhaps, how one can overcome these challenges?
All of the questions were debated openly and frankly both in and outside of the conference.
Every one shared his and her own perspective and enriched us with their knowledge. They also prepared us further to address the challenges we face on a daily basis in carrying out our mission to promote and bring peace in this world.