The project "Forgotten Diaries" puts the spotlight on conflicts that receive little-to-no attention from the rest of the world.
The deaths and subsequent blame game currently being played out in Kashmir as a result of overflowing tensions in the region are the source of many a news article in both India and Pakistan. But the story is different when it comes to global media coverage of the conflict with news of the recent conflict-related deaths in Kashmir barely causing a stir among major media outlets worldwide.
The same goes for conflict in regions such as East Timor, Uganda, Nigeria and Niger Delta. In fact, there are some 100 or so conflicts playing out across the globe yet the majority of these conflicts receives little worldwide attention, meaning they fall into the category of so-called “forgotten conflicts”. 24 hour broadcast channels such as CNN or BBC World News might cover a major outbreak of conflict in one of these regions (because they have a reporter in the area and 24 hours’ worth of airtime to fill), but coverage of these conflicts pales in comparison to coverage of conflicts in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan as well as the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.
Non-profit initiative Forgotten Diaries works to wrench the forgotten conflicts out of no man’s land and focus public attention on them by finding ways to give a voice and outlet of expression to young people in these conflict-afflicted areas.
An offshoot of non-profit organisation Youth Action for Change, Forgotten Diaries (FD) focusses on conflicts in ten regions. Within each region, FD aims to create “citizen journalists” by cultivating a small team of people aged between 15 and 29 years old and providing them with the means and platform to report on their daily lives as well as the conflict surrounding them. Via blogs, podcasts and video reports, the young participants are able to relay their stories and engage with a global audience.
Each of the target regions has its own online resource (hosted on FD’s main website) and the participants provide real-time, on-the-ground community reports which offer a personal, community-based perspective that differs from fact-heavy reporting of major media outlets.
A flow on objective of the initiative is to encourage young people in these areas to implement youth-led, peace-building projects and the team works with people on the ground to coordinate offline activities such as art and theatre workshops which deal with themes relating to peace and conflict management.
Their website and Facebook page host all sorts of fascinating insight into conflicts that would otherwise go unreported. Check out the video below for an introduction to their philosophy and work.