The democratic access to the Internet has changed not only our society, but also the strategies used by extremists. Currently, it is not difficult to find propaganda produced by extremists on social media, communication apps and even videogames. The flow of messages inciting violence seems to have influenced the spread of terrorism (in 2014, the number of countries that suffered a terrorist attack reached a record: citizens from 93 countries died or were injured due to terrorism).
Besides terrorist attacks perpetrated by groups such as Daesh, Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda, some countries have suffered attacks motivated by hate against immigrants and Muslims. Many researches have pointed out an increase in the number of Neo-Nazi groups that preach the purity of race.
The high amount of propaganda produced by both Neo-Nazi groups and Jihadist groups maybe connected to the type of society that we belong: a society that seems to value more the appearance than the being itself. In the digital era, where anyone can produce, edit and broadcast its own spectacle, it has become easier to persuade young people. Extremist groups have been taking advantage from that.
Since youth is the main target of extremists, we believe it is the key to tackle extremism and radicalisation. Young people already know how to use social media platforms, they just need to learn how to deconstruct extremist messages – a strategy that can effectively prevent youth from joining Jihadist and far-right groups. There are currently dozens of institutions that use words to tackle extremism/radicalisation, but some of them are not well-known on social media and students can improve this situation with their skills and creativity. Therefore, the main goals of WORDS HEAL THE WORLD are:
- provide young people with knowledge and the skills necessary to deconstruct extremist messages on multiple social media platforms
- help increase the visibility of institutions all over the world that use words to tackle extremism/radicalisation
- inform people about recent reports and events regarding extremism/radicalisation
We believe the fight against extremism begins on the online space, and there is no one better than the youth to use it for peace. Students are the future generation, and we have been training them to use WORDS TO HEAL OUR WORLD.
We have been encouraging students from different countries to join us. So if you have ideas, suggestions, JOIN US! In the contemporary age, social media has been frequently used to incite hate, and we have the means necessary to change that!
Extremists have been using words as weapons and we are using them for PEACE.