Video Blog: Friends without borders

Published: September 23, 2011
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This is my story of peace; of how my perception has changed about India over the last few years.

It was the winter of late 2009. I was surfing through my Facebook fan page for Sheehsa, when I saw a message in my inbox which was sent by a girl named Arveen Singh. In the message Arveen asked me to promote her page on my fanpage. However, when I went to view her profile, I found out that she was from India. This immediately sparked my curiosity, and I sent her a friend request, which she accepted.

Thus began a beautiful friendship. Arveen and I chatted on Facebook all the time; very soon, we learnt a lot about each other, our families, our cultures and so on. We had so much in common. It didn’t matter that she was from India and I was from Pakistan. We became best friends.

One day I came across a Facebook fan page “Friends without Borders”. The description intrigued me. It stated:

“By using the Facebook platform Friends Without Borders has created a space for youth…to get to know each other without the constraints of distance or interceptive media. “

I joined immediately, and they soon launched a campaign in which they were selecting peace champions from8 countries around the world:

“The Friends Without Borders campaign is peace-building with eight world youth Peace Champions from regions challenged by conflict – Israel and Palestine, India and Pakistan, Greece and Turkey, Kosovo and Serbia. The project brings together the immediate power of information and communications technologies and video storytelling to increase mutual respect, trust and understanding among youth 14 to 25 years from all eight countries by promoting social and cultural self-expression. The Peace Champions will be selected as a Facebook friendship pair from across the regions involved in dispute. The initiative is supported by UNESCO, Stanford University and Facebook, Inc.”

I applied for this project in hopes to relate my story of friendship with Arveen, after discussing it with her of course. Within a week we were notified that we had been selected as world peace champions from our region. I was very excited and we were ecstatic to get our story out in order to inspire the world.

We got our cameras within and started on our project.  While  recording I sent Friend without Borders a note saying:

I’m loving the documentary making even though using video cameras on the streets is hard here, and there is generator noise and other restrictions. I am doing this to celebrate my friendship with Arveen (Peace Champion, India) and to live with peace. I am loving this experience although its a tough challenge to shoot a documentary in Pakistan :D “

Although our video reached the US late, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience as it truly reflected what friendship is all about.

I was so happy and I talked to them about the project. Arveen and I had always been friends but this platform has given us a great chance to question ourselves and our friendship. It has had a great impact. We’re thousands of miles away but are now much closer.

Finally our hard work has paid off; this is the video of the friendship between an Indian and a Pakistani.

 

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Ghalib.Khalil

Ghalib Khalil

A Sialkot based student who runs the Rescue Pakistan Youth Foundation

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.