Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Witness of History

Violent extremism and terrorism have taken the lives of thousands and changed the lives of millions of innocent people across the world. Violent extremism is not a domestic issue, but international linkages now ensure that it is of global concern. Terrorist recruiters seem to be successful because their ideologies and actions resonate especially among youth. The absence of counter-narratives has created a void in the lives of young people, who often look to the wrong sources for direction.

SAVE has a vision of bringing together victims of and those affected by violent extremism. As witnesses of history, their voices can and should carry credible weight in developing new strategies to combat radical ideologies and consolidate peace and security in war-torn and unstable regions.

Here are five interviews from the Witness of History project: 

Monday, January 30, 2012

My experience of the Indo-Pak Youth Dialogue

Hot on the heels of Saman Fayyaz's report on her experience of New Hope for a New Beginning, comes this analysis of the conference from Pakistani delegate, Sidra Tariq:
"My first visit to Mumbai brought back the beautiful memories of my previous two visits to New Delhi. However, where Delhi reminds one of Lahore, Mumbai seemed a lot like Pakistan’s industrial capital, Karachi, where life never takes a break. It was interesting to observe people having similar appearances and mannerisms. The architecture, the traffic, the ambiance, all were uncannily familiar. 
Like other Pakistani delegates, I was quite pleased with the hospitality of our hosts (SAVE and the friends) at the Mumbai University. My meeting with the students and faculty members was full of learning.
I realized that due to information barriers, only a handful of Indian students actually knew something about Pakistani culture and society, and whatever they were acquainted with was mostly tainted by one sided media impressions. On the contrary, due to the flow of Indian channels/movies here, Pakistani youth knows a lot about different aspects of the Indian society and is more open to fresh perspectives regarding Indo-Pak Relationship. It is therefore essential that more such interactions and visits of Indian friends to Pakistan may take place so that they too get to see the country with a new outlook.
I have had mixed impressions about our interaction with the media. Considering the post-Mumbai attacks situation, I had expected a particular kind of media reaction vis-a-vis issues related to terrorism. However, I felt that although the media is still stuck in the post -Mumbai fix, a mood to steering the Indo-Pak relationship in the right direction is in making."

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Hope for a New Beginning Conference: A personal perspective

Saman Fayyaz gives her take on the New Hope for a New Beginning Conference:

"I was given a great opportunity to attend this youth dialogue on the Indo-Pak peace process, held at University of Mumbai, India. It was platform given to students of both sides to interact with each other and thus removing the stereotypes built on both sides. 

 It was a great experience to meet the people across the border and get to know more about them. The conference was about breaking down stereotypes as well as how to further the peace process between India and Pakistan. Students from both sides participated and gave interesting presentations regarding the topic. 

 The young generation on both sides of the border is committed to combat violent extremist ideologies and to establish stability in the region.

After the one-day conference and views from students and professors of both sides, it was decided that a joint research project should be held in which students from both sides would take survey questionnaire from their friends and family on which a final report would be made.

The thing I liked most about India was the Indian student’s response to the Pakistani delegation. The way they welcomed us, the way they treated us, and the way their behavior towards us was really appreciable. 

This is a great step taken towards advancing the peace process between India and Pakistan. More steps like these should be taken afterwards to bring both nations closer.