Posts tagged ‘Bytesforall’
When I first read this statement, I didn’t understand what it really meant. What does “not forwarding violence” mean? Why would I condone violence, let alone spread it? But as I read this message on the Take Back the Tech website, it began to sink in
How many times have you received a forwarded message that contains photographs or a video of someone being violated or humiliated? What do you do with it?
Many of us do not stop and think about the potential long-term impact of our action when we record, share and pass on information using ICT. In each act of viewing and forwarding, we continue and replicate the violence. With this pledge, we encourage you to stop and think. You have the power to stop the spread. Take a stand. Don’t forward.
- I am firmly against violence against women.
- I will NOT forward any form of message, video or photograph of someone being violated or humiliated.
- I will NOT forward any form of message, video or photograph that violates another person’s right to privacy.
- I WILL NOT forward violence.
Isn’t it strange how many of us naively spread the message and visuals of violence without realizing it? In fact we probably think we are advocating against violence by sharing these visuals. With the currently available communication tools which are so easy to use and with the emergence of Social Media, it is as easy as pressing a key. We click without thinking, we forward without realizing the harm we are causing, we share everything from photos to videos to comments to real names and locations without an inkling of what we are doing, without considering that by doing so we are in fact perpetrating the act of violence to a much broader degree, thus harming the very people we want to help.
So from now on let us think before we forward anything. Let us assess what kind of impact our action will have. Let us ‘not forward violence.’
Well here it is finally – the Take Back the Tech! song for 2010 from Pakistan. The lyricist is Bina Shah and the nightingales are our own TBTT activist Nighat Dad and our brand new TBTT activist Maleeha Azeem. Maleeha has also composed the music and produced the song. Isn’t it absolutely awesome? Absolutely out of this world in my opinion. Three cheers for Bina, Maleeha and Nighat – hip hip hooray! hip hip hooray! hip hip hooray!
Ayeshah Alam Khan is a film producer and director. She is also a television talk show host, an activist for various causes, a blogger, a tweeple, a parent, a wife …. And many other things.
I spoke to her about TBTT and she readily agreed to endorse the campaign. In this video she shares her views on harnessing technology and using it for your own benefit.
The Take Back the Tech! Interactive Session at T2F went off like a breeze. Some really engaging people showed up. We started the proceedings with an introduction to what TBTT was, why the need for this campaign arose and how Pakistan had become part of it, as well as some of the activities that had taken place last year and in 2010.
After the introduction two of the TBTT Small Grants Awardees spoke about their projects, asked for ideas and volunteers. Here are the two videos of these talks by Nuzhat Kidvai and Naveen Naqvi & Sana Saleem.
These talks were followed by a very compelling and powerful film that Beena Sarwar had made on Mukhtara Mai. It was the 9 minute version of the film. Hopefully we will be able to get her permission to put it up soon. The film started off what seemed much like a story circle – starting with comments on Mukhtara’s courage and accomplishments and her ability to reach out and help others, with other people sharing their experiences of abuse. It was really an intense session.
Sabeen Mahmud then moderated a session on Online Social Activism. On the panel were Beena Sarwar who has been a journalist and a part of the women’s movement, Atiya Dawood an activist and a poet, Farieha Aziz a young magazine journalist. Although the discussions started with the panel, everyone took part. The main question was whether online activism, online petititions, etc were actually effective and what was the reason that street protests were no longer the norm – why did people not turn up for them. The discussion was in English and Urdu with differing views – some saying that nothing could replace street protests, others of the view that with distances and security issues, and people being busy, online was where most of the mobilization and activity took place. I will put up the video in the next day or so.
All in all it was a great session. All attendees got TBTT t-shirts and bands on which they were asked to write their own TBTT activism slogans.
Sabeen Mahmud is a young woman whom I have known since the 1990s. She is excited by technology and has, over the years, used it in many different ways. Having run a technology company for many years, she recently set up T2F, a project under the PeacheNiche umbrella.
PeaceNiche, a not-for-profit NGO, registered under the Societies Act of 1860, is committed to becoming a vibrant centre of Pakistan’s developing civil society. PeaceNiche is a social entrepreneurship project that blends the best of business practice with the non-profit urge to make meaning rather than focusing purely on the bottom line.
T2F has become a space where many of us get together to have a conversation, to chill out, to network, to attend workshops, jam sessions or book launches and engage in any kind of activism.
Sabeen and T2F have been very supportive in the TBTT campaign and this year have partnered with us on several initiatives like the “Creative Coalition against Gender Violence” and the “Interactive Session on Social Activism”.
I asked her to give us her views on TBTT and the role that technology plays in creating awareness regarding important issues. Here is what she had to say.
I had gone to T2F to get together with some other TBTT campaigners before heading off to a rally organized by Aurat Foundation. Usually there are people of all ages hanging out at T2F and you easily start a conversation with someone you don’t know (that is the kind of place it is). Yesterday, however, was a little different. There were an unproportionate number of people who were possibly in their O & A levels.
I asked Sabeen Mahmud, the Director of PeaceNiche, what all the buzz was about. She said that a workshop on Gender Violence was being run for young people by UKS. Amazing how one walks into these kind of things, isn’t it? She introduced me to Surayya Mahmood, a young lady probably also in her A levels, who was running the workshop with 3 of her friends. They had attended a similar workshop themselves the summer before and had begun to understood the impact of media on young minds. They have since been working with Uks on spreading this awareness among their peers.
Naturally I was not going to miss this opportunity to capture Surayya on video and share her thoughts with TBTT campaigners and supporters around the world.
Rabeea’s TBTT design work has been on this blog for the past week. I spoke to her at T2F where she works to find out why she decided to join the Take Back the Tech! campaign and what was behind some of the creative work she has been doing since her college days. Listen to what she had to say.
Zaheer A. Kidvai is the CEO of Beyond Information Technology Solutions (BiTS). He is also a blogger and is known for his pioneering work in Education Technology & Multimedia. I caught up with him the other day and asked him if he thought men should support the Take Back the Tech! campaign to end Violence Against Women. Here is what he had to say.
Re-imagine the World. Join the Creative Coalition against Gender Violence. Create a poster, photograph, song, animation, movie or illustration and be a part of making the change.
The change we are talking about in this instance is to harness technology to end Violence Against Women – in other words to Take Back the Tech!
The poster can be downloaded here. Please download it and circulate it widely to people and organizations that you think will be interested to participate in this creative pursuit for a cause.
With the increased use of technology, whether it be the internet or the mobile phone or digital cameras, the cases of harassment using technology have also increased. Somehow it seems predators, stalkers, harassers and the like start adopting technology at a faster speed than the rest of us.
Should we then stop using technology so that we will not be at risk? That is absolutely not an option. Technology empowers us to connect, to learn, to share, to transact, to do so many things much more easily than we could have in the past. Why should we be deprived of the benefits?
The philosophy behind the Take Back the Tech! campaign is to harness ICTs for our own use, to reclaim it and to use it to empower ourselves as individuals and as communities and groups.
However, we also need to be smart about the use of technology. This means that we need to use privacy settings on mobile phones, Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc and to be selective in what we share and with whom. The false sense of security that online “you could be a dog” and no-one is aware of it, is a myth. Your identity is available. You just need to be sure it isn’t stolen and that your online content is not misused.
This poster was designed by Rabeea Arif who is a Communications Designer and feels strongly about women empowerment. Thank you Rabeea.
Retired Justice Nasira Iqbal is a very well respected person in the Pakistani legal fraternity. Here she talks to TBTT Campaigner Nighat Dad about the TakeBacktheTech! initiative and why she thinks it is important. Last year Retd Justice Nasira Iqbal attended a session that the TBTT Pakistan team had organized to explain the vision behind this campaign and why it was important for the legal community to be fully behind this initiative – in fact to be an essential part of it. Thank you Retd Justice Nasira for your support and encouragement.
As part of this year’s TakeBacktheTech! Campaign, the Pakistan team decided to talk to celebrities and ask them to endorse the TBTT initiative, and create an awareness regarding ICT & Violence Against Women. This is the first in a series of TBTT Celebrity messages that we will be sharing. Naveen Naqvi has been working for television for many years. She is also a journalist and a blogger. Thank you Naveen for sharing your views with us.
There is always something you can do to ensure that technology is not misused, that women and young girls are not harrassed, that they can use cutting edge technology safely and without fear. Women can Take Back the Tech, take control of technology to communicate, to express their views, to earn a living, to carry out research, to create safe spaces for themselves and so much more.
Join the TakeBacktheTech Campaign and say NO to Violence against Women and Young Girls.