This post is part of the group contribution and best practices shared during the Euro-Mediterranean Training Course: Youth Work Preventing Violent Extremism, implemented by the Association of Human Rights Educators AHEAD from the 14th till the 21st October 2018 in Comarruga (Tarragona).
is a non-profit, whose mission is to develop the next generation of civic leaders, activists and change agents. It aims to accomplish that by giving young people the opportunity to actively participate in the political process. By opening up spaces for democratic education and youth participation in schools and government, we strive to prioritize the needs of low-income youth and under-resourced schools and regions.
During the past five years, IIDebate in cooperation with different civil society organizations, institutions and other statutory and voluntary sector partners are working to ensure the active participation of young people in the public life. Through the Café Talks, we aim to bring young people together by giving them the space to discuss and debate topics they feel concerned about.
The "Café" talk?
Young people meet in cafés and public spaces to discuss social issues in order to:
- Prevent violent extremism
- Support young people to make a positive contribution and engage with their communities
- Engaging civil society organizations, corporation and media outlets to collaborate in order to face community challenges
Our goal is to support people in expressing themselves freely. By organizing open discussions in cafes, we aim to create new ways of spreading awareness and engaging youth in our country’s issues. The task to find concrete solutions develops their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
Bit Confuse...Little more explanation?
As the main activity of Café Talk is a disscusion around a table that englobe 10-15 persons, a simulation took place in "Youth work deconstructing Violence and extremism" Workshop, we were divided in 2 groups: One for a debate on the role of education and another on the role of media to prevent violent extremism. In each group, we had a café talk team: a moderator, a reporter and a community manager. The debates were quite passionate and productive.
Role of Media in Preventing Violent Extremism
At the beginning, the group came up with the common idea that media can be both a tool to prevent or to spread the extremism. Violent extremism, in fact, can be prevented or encouraged according to the content and the discourse used by the mass media. For example, concerning the coverage of terrorist attacks, it is important to not to show the bloody scenes like dead bodies. Another issue related to the coverage of terrorist attacks is the hate speech. The refugees and minorities are often represented as the responsible of the attacks and many social conflicts.
We also noticed that in most of the euromediterranean countries, a sexist discourse lies behind the coverage of certain events such as sexual harrasment and rape. For instance, several news blame the victimized woman with references to her clothes or attitude. This is definitely an encouragement for the attackers.
Another issue which was underlined during the debate was the general coverage of the news happening in the underdevelopped countries. For example, big and international media groups tend to cover only the negative news in those countries. happening Media can have the effect of making more developed countries more powerful and less developed countries weaker.
Employment of educated and trained journalists in the media is crucial for reducing the extremist acts. This kind of journalists would have a more ethical approach. They may add deeper analysis to their stories. They can also write about minorities’ isssues and demands.
One of the reasons of discriminative discourse in the media is the absence of freedom of speech. The big media groups are usually in close relations with political powers and they reflect their ideologies. If they are kept away from them with legal regulations, that would promote a free media. The media with free speech would contribute more to the deconstructing violent extremism.
Education as a tool to prevent violence & extremism
Education is important to create critical thinkers in order to prevent violent extremism. Uneducated people may often become extremists in a faster way.
There are different types of education: Formal and informal. Both types of education play a key role for a healthy society. It is also important the cooperation between educational institutions and parents.
The education is a long process and has several levels. In the first level, the kids develop their personality. When they become teeanagers, they start discovering life and the personality developped at the first level effects their future. If a person didn’t have a qualified education during his childhood and and his teenage years, it becomes more diffcult to seek a change and to accept new ideas.
Interesting... but who can participate?
We target through Café Talk project individuals, NGOs, institutions, decision makers. But the prior target is youth from 15-35 years from marginalized areas.
Since the launching of the project, over 600 sessions of "Café Talk" were established orgnized in 23 regions of Tunisia, in Palestine, Jordan and Egypt where over 5000 particpant get the space to discuss about various issues retlated to youth and mainely prevention of violence and extremism.
A special thanks goes to @Viola falleri & @Ozan avunduk for the contirubtionin this article and all the participants of "Youth work deconstructing Violence and extremism" for their active participation and intersting insights.