Interview of Elena-Agnes Crăciun from Romania after the Training Course "Silence Hate" in Berlin.
Can you give us your opinion about the project “Silence Hate“ ?
This project was an inspiring experience. I would like to start by talking about the organizing team. All of the members were so understanding and respectful with us, the participants. There were times when I considered them my friends just because we had wonderful moments together. The activities were full of insights and relevant information related to the topic and I really appreciated that we had a lot of group exercises. I am really happy that I got the chance to learn new things about online hate, learn more about myself, and visit Berlin in the meantime. Thank you for your efforts. I will remember this project.
How can youth help to combat the rise of online hate speech ?
That’s a hard question. I think that in order to combat online hate speech we need to find some smart and powerful tools. One of the mistakes would be to try to combat hate speech with more hate speech. That would be the equivalent of trying to put out a fire by throwing gasoline into it. I consider that an intelligent solution would be to try to do the exact opposite thing: respond with kindness (or, at least, be indifferent). For example, if someone says something mean in a comment, just say: "This space doesn't accept bad vibes, so please find a way out." or "If you don't have anything nice to say, just don't say anything at all.". This is a sign of maturity and it lets the abuser see that his words mean nothing.
Do you think that Media is a pathway to racism, intolerance, Islamophobia...? I don't necessarily think that media leads to these problems. Racism existed way before the Internet did, just like intolerance and all types of phobias did. But, unfortunately, media is a shortcut that can lead to these things. I visualize it like a facilitator that was created in order to do something good for humans, but failed in some aspects and along the way was repurposed. Now, it is like a dangerous tool in the wrong people's hands. The truth is a sad one and it only shows that humankind is very cruel sometimes, destroying good things that are supposed to bring us closer to each other (talking about the media and Internet).