AU-UN IST PHOTO / ILYAS A. ABUKAR.
This October sees the twentieth anniversary of events that came to be known as Black Hawk Down, in which eighteen US military personnel and hundreds of Somalis died. Over a thousand Somalis were injured, hundreds of them civilians, though estimates vary greatly. It so horrified Americans at the time it led to the early withdrawal of US forces from Somalia and the collapse of the UN mission.
Today, Somalia appears to have the chance to rise from the ashes of incessant violence, state failure and humanitarian catastrophe. The US is among a number of countries that are seriously re-engaging in what was thought to be a hopeless cause for a long time after those tragic events in Mogadishu. Continue reading
Map: UN via Wikimedia Commons
In April 2012, a military coup in Mali removed a national government struggling to cope with the security threat posed by armed groups returning from Libya. Mali has consequently been confronted with a severe lack of security, governance and legitimate political leadership that prompted a series of UN resolutions throughout 2012 allowing French and African (AFISMA) troops, led by ECOWAS, to deploy to Mali.
As of May 2013, the French and AFISMA forces have successfully suppressed the armed insurrection from the north and also prevented international violent extremist groups from so far using the northern rebellion to further their own, more invidious goals. Continue reading
Albany recently spent a couple of days at the annual NATO Strategic Communications Conference in Riga, Latvia, where the overarching theme, as as at the Comprehensive Communication Masterclass, was centred around narrative.
A timely talking point was, inevitably, the current and forthcoming issues of ‘narrating the exit’ from Afghanistan. However, central to that was the conceptual, theoretical, philosophical and practical essence of ‘narrative’ in general. Continue reading
The fourth and final day of the workshop started with a session on the basic skills of ‘training for trainers,’ urging the journalists to share the knowledge they gain from such training workshops. Yahya commenced the session with a brief explanation about the types of training sessions such as a seminar style, workshops, and lectures. He then talked about the main values of a trainer; he stressed the importance of humility and gave examples of how arrogance stands in the way of establishing rapport with the participants and creating a healthy learning environment. Continue reading
Photo: Reuters via International Business Times
In response to the recent murder of a British soldier in Woolwich, Paul Bell comments on the individual psychopathology of violent extremism and alternative ways to address it that do not breed the Islamist narrative of domestic exclusion and war against religion. The counter-narrative, part of a larger comprehensive communications strategy, needs to frame violent extremism as a largely psychological phenomenon – framed as the innate human weakness that it represents, as opposed to the mythological ‘strength’ ascribed to it by extremists — and to distance it as far possible from the political and religious ground on which Al Qaeda stakes out its emotional turf for potential recruits. Continue reading
The third day of the workshop started with “Freedom and Responsibility” by Yahya Shoqair, who explained that the freedom of expression is a birth right. Freedom of expression also includes the right to peaceful assembly and the right to join trade unions and political parties as well as the right of the opposition. He demonstrated articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. He added that freedom has limits; we are not free to incite others to hatred or call for war. Continue reading
Yahya Shoqair started the second day of the workshop by highlighting the role of the media in providing information that helps the public make decisions, in addition to providing a platform for national debate, activating the role of the citizen in the community through participation in the elections, revealing violations and giving a voice to the voiceless.
Yahya stated: “It’s important to differentiate between news and views. News is information and facts; views are our own opinion. As journalists we should distinguish between both.” Continue reading
Day one of the second workshop for “Enhancing Media Coverage of Elections” commenced at the Kempinski Hotel in Amman with a total of 14 participants from different provinces across Jordan: Kerak, Zarqa, Irbid, Tafelieh and Ajloun. Continue reading
Doha International Airport is well-known for welcoming a wide array of people from around the world, from the businessman come to seek his share of the seemingly inexhaustible Gulf Money, to the tourist looking to explore the beauty of modern architecture. Then there are the citizens of neighbouring countries, devastated by poverty who find themselves desperately seeking a livelihood in Qatar, most often working as taxi drivers, on construction sites or in low paid service industries. Continue reading
Trainer Yahya Shoqair
Yahya started the fourth and final day of “Enhancing Media Coverage of Elections” workshop with tips for successful election coverage; he started with an overview of some articles in the constitution relevant to parliamentary elections. He continued to talk about the importance of being prepared before elections and explained that journalists need to begin to plan for elections ahead of time because if they don’t, others will and the media will have to chase to catch up with them. He affirmed, “We need to address the programs being put forward by the parties and draw up questions that will put those policies to the test.” Continue reading