In Quebec, a group of youngsters between 14 and 26 years of age have begun a campaign to prevent radicalisation called What if I was wrong? When we talk, we learn!
What distinguishes this from others is that it doesn’t address an ideology or a specific group. It works on the idea that it is possible to combine an extreme focus regarding criticism or social protest, while maintaining a non-violent approach.
It is for this reason that the main objective of this of this project is to promote resilience and critical awareness among the young in order to combat extremist discourse which promotes the use of violence. What if I was wrong? Does not aim to legitimise or attack any ideology or specific group; the campaign’s aim is to address attitudes which may lead to violent radicalisation, and it is for this reason that we talk of a transversal initiative.
The factors that are borne in mind and are the focus of this campaign are the steadfast ideological convictions, the perception of frontiers between certain groups of individuals, doctrinal inflexibility, generalisations, the feeling of exclusion and intolerance of alternative ideas, values and beliefs.
The initiative will include activities in 542 institutes and 62 professional training centres. There will also be 24 workshops, training for teachers and social workers and mobilisations in 72 municipalities. Within the framework of these activities, the promotion of art as a means of expression and mobilisation is noteworthy. Furthermore, roughly thirty videos will be broadcast in which young people share their experiences linked to the campaign’s issues. In order to better connect with the public, the campaign avoids a moralising tone and has a neat and attractive image.
The project, which kicked off on 21st September of this year, was conceived by the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence (CPRLV), relies on the collaboration of the UNESCO and has a total budget of 120,000 dollars. The CPRLV is a unique centre in North America that aims to respond to violent radicalisation via alternative measures to those involving the police and the penal system.
This plan was presented within the framework of the conference “Security, Democracy and Cities. Coproducing the Policies of Urban Security”, which was organised along with the Generalitat of Catalonia, Barcelona Council and the European Forum for Urban Security (EFUS). The conference took place between 15th and 17th November 2017 in the city of Barcelona.
Democracy and Cities. Coproducing the Policies of Urban Security