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Culture Radio ends session on peace and non-violence

Culture Radio ends session on peace and non-violence

Culture Radio FM 104.5, the people’s station, held a one-day interactive session on peace and non-violence at the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) hall, Brookfields, Freetown.  (Photo:  Group photo)

The session targeted youth leaders representing 30 youth groups across the Freetown municipality, and was aimed at creating a forum for youths to discuss the underlining issues responsible for the spate of political violence in the country and to chat the way forward for youths to play an active part in discouraging violence in society.

In his opening remarks, the Director of Culture Radio, Elijah M I Gegra, said for a long time now, youths have been on the spotlight for perpetuating political and other forms of violence in the country.

“This negative perception of our youths should change”, Mr. Elijah Gegra said, adding that, “As we approach the crucially important November 2012 general elections, it is important that youth leaders be on the forefront of propagating the message of peace and love to their peers and sensitizing them against being used by politicians to perpetuate violence”.

Mr. Gegra called on youths to embrace peace and work towards being self-reliant.

Talking about the socio/economic development of the country, Mr. Gegra noted that it is nothing good to write home about, stressing that “Development should not be cosmetic as it is in the case of Sierra Leone which despite its vast mineral wealth still languishes at the very bottom of the human development index, with prices of basic commodities hiking on a daily basis”.

He said the level of under-development of the country is in itself a major factor responsible for the vulnerability of youths and their likelihood to become perpetrators of violent acts or victims of violence.

He therefore called on youths to be mindful of their vulnerable condition and be self-determined to reject any attempt to lure them into any form of violence.

In his remarks, the Station Manager of Culture Radio, Theophilus Sahr Gbenda, said Culture Radio is a cause-based medium that has as its main objective advocating for good governance and seeking the wellbeing of the vast majority of the citizens who are at the receiving end of the harsh effects of the economic degradation affecting the country.

Mr. Gbenda said Culture Radio has a special passion for youths because of their vulnerability to violence, adding that it is about time that youths started blaming themselves for acts of violence they are lured into rather than blaming those who lured them into violence. This he said is because often, politicians are blamed for luring youths into violence.

“If youths value themselves and realize their vulnerable nature, they will not allow any politician to mislead them into violence only to be abandoned at the end of the day”, Mr. Gbenda said.

Mr. Gbenda further stated that Culture Radio is part and parcel of Civil Peace Service (CPS) partners operating in the country, and that the station is keen on eliminating all threats to the peace the country is currently enjoying which was why the necessity to engage youths on peace and non violence was deemed fit.

At the end of the interactive session, the targeted youths committed themselves to serve as ambassadors of peace and went ahead to form what is now known as the Youth Network for Non-Violence Elections 2012.

Meanwhile, Culture Radio has continued its intensive campaign against land grabbing in the country, and is currently working on organizing a dialogue forum to discuss the pros and cons of investment in land for agro fuel production.

By Emmanuel Sahr Pessima

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