Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Pakistan against terrorism: World's largest petition

I am back from a delighting vacation, spent at home in an unusually hot and sunny Sweden. This week I'm at the XV Nordic Political Science Association's annual conference, this time in near-Arctic Tromsö in northern Norway, presenting a pilot study on Facebook use and attitudes towards political mobilisation. More on that later.

From Politics Online (not yet on the web site) I learn that a popular movement against terrorism is forming in Pakistan. The Yeh Hum Naheen Foundation has managed so far to collect a staggering 42 million signatures, on paper and online, against the use of violence in the name of Islam. According to Politics Online, that is more than the number of voters in Pakistan's last general election.

The campaign has used several different tools of virtual mobilisation, including Facebook groups, MySpace, YouTube, SMS chains, forums and a web portal.

According to the Foundation's website, the idea came from the UK based author and media consultant Waseem Mahmood. Yeh Hum Naheen means "this is not us".

It will be very interesting to see what effects this campaign will have on the political culture in Pakistan.

Watch the video:

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