Since March 11, Small World News has been in Benghazi, Libya, with a generous grant from Access getting Alive.in/Libya off the ground. We've been hard at work training a team of citizen video journalists recruited among local youth. In a short week, we exposed participants to the basics of video production and overcame the technological limitations imposed by Libyaï¿½s current crisis to open a citizen-sourced channel of communication to the international community that we hope will only widen in the days to come. A primary motivation for our journey here was an intense curiosity about the nature of the young people who are remaking the face of the Middle East under a banner of the universal values of freedom, dignity, and self-determination. What we were hearing seemed too good to be true. And yet, from the experience that we have had here so far, it seems to be a reality.
In our travels to countries afflicted by violent conflict we have always been able to meet good friends who defy the strange and noxious preconceptions we seem to carry about the people who live in the ï¿½dangerousï¿½ places of the world. Libya was no exception. Our partners are doctors, engineers, teachers, retail workers and computer technicians whose lives have changed radically in a few short weeks.
The civic spirit unleashed by the February 17th revolution has been humbling to witness. The spontaneity of the uprising coupled with subsequent self-organizing efforts has restored to many a sense of ownership of their own country. It has released a long frustrated desire among ordinary citizens to correct the impressions that they fear are widely held about them, which derive from their long association with the rule of Muammar Qadaffi. What many express is the desire to now show what they consider to be their true face to the world.
Our aim was to facilitate this desire for self-expression by organizing a production team; facilitating the use of inexpensive, lightweight, and versatile media tools; developing an effective method for uploading content given local conditions; and building a platform on the web and its social media arms for publishing internationally.