Inspirational dream

A group of youth workers came to Tunisia trying to harmonize the fracture between a totalitarian regime and democratic values in order to realize how a modern and free state should look like. 24 participants from Tunisia, Germany, Hungary and Egypt met together during Vlog in! project (14-22.04.2016) to exchange their thoughts about the current situation in their countries.

Youth4Media has successfully implemented very first training course focusing on vlogging (the combination of video report and blogging) on 14-22. April 2016, in Hammamet, Tunisia. Youth workers and young leaders were creating exciting media products: photos, videos, vlog entries and blog articles about their experiences in the host country.

One of the biggest focus of Vlog in! project was to create products, which will deal with topics like freedom of speech and democracy. Participants fastly noticed that those can be problems not only for the other continents but also can be more and more current for Europe.  ‘Tunisia was a perfect choice to make project like that. It’s just 5 years since they had the revolution. Here, for me, more important than technical part was to know, what is the current political situation in Arabic countries and in Hungary. I guess most of us realised that not only North Africa has problems with non-democratic tendencies. It is enough to look at Hungary, Belarus, Russia, etc.’ – says Max Hafemann, one of the German trainers.

Recording videos, writing blogs, using multimedia in phones, participating in social media were one of the most important factors of the Arab Spring. That is why it was important to talk about them and use them for reporting about the current situation in Tunisia. German, Egyptian and Hungarian input let the Tunisians compare their situation and sum up better the circumstances after the revolution. As Timo Matzolleck (media trainer from Germany) sums up: ‘There seems to be a tremendous contrast in how Tunisians, in their twenties and  thirties, have experienced how much they can influence the situation. While some have resigned, fed up with disappointments and without any hope for their future in Tunisia, others keep up the fight for more freedom and prospect. Of course, we applaud for the ones who still fight for change in Tunisia, but what about those who lost any trust in civic engagement? They lost it for a reason. And lots of them just hope to leave their country behind one day.’

There are still many people trying to fight for a change. Lina Ben Mhenni known as ‚Tunisian Girl‘ proved that with her input about blogging. She came to Hammemet especially for Vlog in! participants to share her thoughts about the revolution. As the most known blogger in Tunisia, she doesn’t believe in the success of Arab Spring. What is more, she would not even call it an Arab Spring but better an Arab Uprising. There is still a lot to do and she is trying to make the change even if she honestly admitted that as an activist she is a big danger.

The participants could have experienced the current situation in Tunisia by themselves. During recording one of the video products, they were stopped by the police and security guards and were not allowed to continue. Nouran from Egypt admitted that situations like that is normal in Egypt. ‘Even me, as a native Egyptian, I was stopped while taking a photo of a building in Cairo’ – confess Khalifa Nouran Salah Eldin Abdelaziz – Egyptian participant.

Vlog in! project brought its participants not only knowledge, technical skills or the exchange of memories but also a life experience. ‘Encountering different cultures other than my own added a new dimension to my life. For someone who has never travelled outside Tunisia I got the chance to visit Germany, Hungary and Egypt just by hearing personal stories from the participants, trying their food, and listening to their music. I did not meet just colleagues there; I met real friends with whom I shared different experiences and feelings. We trusted each other, laughed, cried, hugged and danced together. This project was a success for me, and if I had to describe it in two words, I would call it an inspirational dream’ – sums up Rihab Mazigh.

Vlog in! project was organised by European Youth4Media Network in cooperation with Club Culturel Ali Belhouane from Tunisia. Project partners are: Sound-Picture Association from Hungary and Training without Borders from Egypt. The project is supported by the European Union's Erasmus+ Programme

Daria Jaranowska

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