Impact of social media while our elections & politics groping in the dark

By Oken Jeet Sandham

Literally, every person on the street has Facebook Account. In other countries and even in major Indian cities, whether cobbler or rickshaw puller or barber or vegetable vender, they mostly have social media accounts, particularly Facebook. Almost every restaurant – whether small or big – has free Internet facilities through Wi-Fi. Everyone coming to the restaurants is normally seen enjoying free Internet facilities through the Wi-Fi services, while enjoying various cuisines. The whole world is virtually at their fingertips.

Over 80% of the world leaders now have their own social media accounts, particularly Facebook. Starting from mere local politicians to Prime Ministers and Presidents, they all have owned their own social media sites. Many Queens and Kings also have joined social media. Most of them used Facebook extensively to promote their missions and charitable works, while those politicians would do their best to propagate their political and social agendas. Millions of Facebook users will also systematically use the social media sites (Facebook) to promote their commercial ventures. Various professionals will use Facebook to promote their professional programs. To a great extent, their purposes are served.

Since the advent of Facebook, the communities of the world are more connected than ever before. The boundaries have virtually disappeared and the world communities become one family. The people don’t wait any important information of any candidates these days; they can easily get it through their Facebook sites. Besides this, the general publics can directly put their questions in their social media sites and even join debates in it.

We have seen how the last American Presidential elections were fought through various social media sites. Barack Obama and his Republican rivals Senator John McCain and later with Mitt Romney virtually had their presidential campaigns organized in the Facebook and it had largely worked to capture the mood of the voters who were also users of Facebook and other social media sites.

The last American Presidential elections had shown to the world that no one could any longer fight without Facebook and other Social media machines. After the American elections were over, numbers of Facebook and other social media users were seen a quantum jump and it still keeps surging.

Every Prime Minister or President of the world would have their Facebook with millions following them. They virtually pitted against each other for their political and electoral battles. They could systematically advance to many areas. Every activity of any Prime Minister or the main Opposition Leader will be instantly uploaded in their Facebook before it goes to any other online publications, forget about Print Media that will come next day only.

In India, we have now witnessed unprecedented use of Facebook and Twitter, etc. during this time’s upcoming 16th Indian Lok Sabha elections by contending candidates and their political parties. They have been constantly uploading news of election campaigns in their respective social media sites. According to report, the social media, particularly Facebook will play a major role in 2014 elections. It said out of 534 constituencies, 160 were identified as High impact zones, 67 were identified as Medium impact zones while the rest were classified as Low impact zones.

It further disclosed that they were categorized on the basis of internet and Facebook users in that particular constituency. On basis of data collected from past year and equating it with current stats, it concluded that the High impact zones will be the major game changer in 2014 elections.

Nadrendra Modi, the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate has millions of Facebook and Twitter followers. His electioneering news is constantly uploaded in his and his BJP’s Facebook and Twitter sites. Congress Star Campaigner Rahul Gandhi also equally uses the services of the Facebook and Twitter for propagating his electioneering campaigns, while Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh too can’t help but depending on social media like Facebook to put his political agendas and developments, etc.

Though he projected himself very simple, Arvind Kejriwal, former Delhi Chief Minister and leader of AAP, couldn’t progress without depending on social media. He had to convey his thought, ideas and election campaigns through social media in many cases. In fact, the social media plays integral, both to the candidates and the public.

In India, every political party has their social media sites today. They too have used benefits of the sites to the fullest possible manner to advance their political agendas. Massive political propaganda has been created through Facebook and Twitter by every political party and their leader to project that they are the savior of the country. If closely monitored, it appears that they are unlikely to play politics without the services of Facebook and Twitter. What a revolution indeed.

Even in the Region, State Units of various National Political Parties like the BJP, Congress, etc. have opened their own social media sites and played their own games to only strengthen their propaganda machine.

Every media house does have their own various social media sites, so do all the media persons. In fact, some of the national media houses constantly upload every new development in their news portals as well as their Facebook and Twitter. These have happened, over and above their print editions. Even the electronic media like TV Channels, in spite of their live telecast of each and every development, do constantly upload their news in their Facebook and Twitter.

In Nagaland too, number of social media users are seen increasing leaps and bound. There are heated debates taking place on various issues facing them in their social media sites. Facebook has given space for each and every person to share their thoughts, ideas and plights, etc.

Hundreds of users throw their questions in the Facebook daily or hourly with regard to the current Lok Sabha elections as well as Naga political issue. It is interesting to note that while AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi was addressing a mammoth election rally at Kohima Local Ground on March 27, news of his address was being uploaded in Facebook and Twitter simultaneously. How advance the Social Media of today is? In fact, immediate political debates generated when he raised the controversial points with regard to Naga political issue where he said, “I will not give any promise as your Chief Minister who said he would bring solution to the Naga issue within three months if he was voted to power.”

Before NPF formally lodged its complaint, the actual debates were over within few hours as soon as it was uploaded in the Facebook and Twitter. It went viral.

It is regretted that NPF and NPCC have just opened their Facebook accounts with hardly any following them. Hardly election campaign news is seen uploading in their sites. They should engage their media personnel to work for their social media sites. Nagaland BJP Unit has, however, been maintaining their Facebook site well.

NPF candidate Neiphiu Rio, who is also DAN consensus candidate, has nearly 500 followers, while Congress Candidate KV Pusa’s seemed to have just been opened recently with less than 100 followers. Some of their party functionaries, of course, have their social media accounts opened. This development clearly shows that they are yet to know the value of social media.

Looking at the present scenario, Nagaland political activities are yet to catch up the social media importance. They are still in the dark while others are busy uploading their activities, yet they do not know what is happening in Facebook with their stories. Here is a wakeup call for our political leaders to join the Facebook or else they will be left out. Courtesy: EPN

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Nagas need Christian worldview for reconciliation

By: B.Thohii Shuru

The Lenten Agreement signed by the three political groups marks the new chapter for “Naga reconciliation: a journey of common hope”. Symbolically, the timing and the word ‘Lenten’ have meaning to the biblical significance in which the process needs to orient in that direction. A close read up on the Republic Day speeches of the collective leaders of Naga political groups this year show positive commitment to engage in reconciliation for common future. Also reading between the lines one finds a departure from the kind of previous years’ speeches which are, more often than not, intent with hatred and viciously vitriolic content of intolerance indulging in self-exoneration.

In the twists and turns of the history of Naga national movement came the tragedy of the fall to Naga politics of factions, the fall out of dissension, discord, and rebellion within the Naga nationalists, and in consequence of it saw many wrongs committed for which we are seeking redemption today. Fratricidal killing has caused grave dehumanisation of lives and has bogged Naga communities to moral and social disarray. Ills of intra-contradictions, dissension, righteous attitude, and pseudo-Christian attitude prevailing within the Naga communities continue to be the main hurdle for achieving ultimate reconciliation. Therefore, the Naga leaders need to rethink in radically different term about a system that would help restore peace to our broken communities, shattered by past wrongs.
Six years ago, the FNR initiated the bold process of reconciliation to rebuild trust between the Naga leaders and accept the truth of, ‘reconciliation is a political necessity’ for an honourable Naga political solution. The latest efforts of the FNR need serious and sincere engagement from our leaders of Naga political groups, not just paper agreement. So, a valid question to ask is, why should our leaders find it so hard to reconcile each other in the spirit of Christian?

Secular worldview – be it naturalism, eastern pantheism, the new age, post modern secularism, liberation theologies, or a host of others have all failed to offer redemption to world chaos. All these worldview have failed to escape its own contradictions or disastrous implications. But Christian worldview, as studies showed, is accepted as the only alternative that offers redemption to world predicaments. Of the numerous alternatives that are as numerous as the various religions and philosophies of the world, Christianity is accepted as the only alternative that can participate in restorative justice programmes, implement redemptive policies, or be rebuilders of broken communities and broken lives.

Unless we are utopians, we have to accept the fact that we can never have an ideal type of just society. But when bad things happen to societies and individuals, Christianity is said to have been the only alternative that provides hope of redemption. The truth is that, Christian people doing a Christian thing in a Christian way take the lead not only in producing individual transformation, but in reanimating culture, bringing Christian truth to bear in all aspects of our common lives together.
True justice, according to Burnside, involves an ongoing dialectic between the antiseptic and compassionate views, aiming higher to achieve the goal of right relationship. But this dialectic can take place only within the context of what moral philosopher Alisdair MacIntyre calls a ‘tradition of enquiry’. And in Burnside’s view, that tradition is Christianity which sees humanity in relational term – in relationship between God and humans and among humans.

Historically, secular naturalism and biblical theism have been utterly antithetical in viewpoints over different understandings of how government should function to preserve order and promote justice. Philosophers like Rousseau and Voltaire have made a scathing attack on Christianity and its institutions challenging the historic Christian view of original sin and blaming Christian institutions as an oppression that chained men.

The Enlightenment of the eighteenth century that propagates State as the ultimate liberator saw its disastrous implications in world history as such paradoxes as the Reign of Terror in French Revolution’s pursuit of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. We also saw Marx’s influence of economic solution to social ills that led to the gulags and the killing fields in Cambodia under the totalitarian regime of Pol Pot in the twentieth century. The Naga history too is stained with tyranny and blood as witnessed in fratricidal killings and having seen many public leaders got killed. History proves that all revolutionary leaders in one way or other are under the influence of the writings of Rousseau, Voltaire, and Marx and so on.

Utopianism declared God irrelevant to politics and men can achieve a this-worldly redemption through political action, that is, through the seizure and use of power by an enlightened vanguard. This is seen in the political actions of Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and so on.

Now coming back to my main point in discourse, today the Naga society lives with unhealed wound of many wrongs committed in the past by the Naga political groups. These wrongs were committed in the trunk line of Machiavelli and Hobbes theories that declared the state is paramount to citizen’s life, justifying that any act, even killing if necessary for the cause of the state, is legitimate. Here, I think, is a syndrome of moral ambivalence where Naga nationalist leaders are caught between two moral responsibilities of as the state heads and as Christians. Paradoxically, the Utopian authority of justifying the act of even the worst kind for Naga nation is against the moral restraint of conscience to do no wrong by the fact of being Christian and believing in biblical teaching of sin. Taking one’s life cannot be justified with convenience like ‘God will understand it’. Naga society is suffering today with wounds of hurts and unforgiving attitude for crimes brought about by political action of those in power. Fairly exercise of restraint of moral conscience to do no more wrong by the Naga nationalist leaders to rebuild and restore a rational and just society is obviously absent.

In a predicament like this in Naga context, I believe, our leaders need to embrace Christian restorative justice that is base on restitution or making rights to the extent possible the wrongs done. The reason is that in the context of Naga national movement, God relevance to Naga politics is paramount right from the beginning in against to utopianism that declared God irrelevant to politics. I feel it necessary to quote here some of what our collective leaders’ echoes in their Republic Day speeches this year: “Fifty eight years ago on this Day of the Lord as National Government with a framed Constitution in the name of God Almighty that we were and we are a nation” (NNC), “Nagaland for Christ is a covenant of God with the Nagas”, “When God is happy with NSCN, than there will be an honourable solution. If God be on our side who can be against us” (NSCN/GPRN). These have bearing on how Naga nationalism is founded upon God in centre and a total repose of faith in God for deliverance from political bondage. In the light of the above, the Christian worldview must become the guiding belief to engage in reconciliation.

Historically, Christianity has brought transformation to the Naga societies to give up headhunting – a culture that legitimizes violence involved in head taking. Today’s fratricidal killing among Naga political factions and systematic targeting of public leaders is a sublimated form of Naga primitive headhunting culture. Retributive justice to ‘even the score’ in killing was the legitimate act of headhunting. There is no difference between fratricidal killing and primitive headhunting in the context of expression of human aggression. Initially Naga primitive headhunting was sublimated through restriction imposed by external agent, Christianity.

Nevertheless, that sublimation would not have come to a savage Naga had there not been development of individual transformation from self within. It was Christianity that helped a Naga to transform individually and finally decide that it was morally wrong to kill another for head trophy – the result of the influence of Christian historic teaching of sin. The basic instinct of human aggression and for a Naga too, can never be sublimed totally but the moral restraint of that instinct comes from the teaching of Christianity.

A society that enjoys near ideal type of peaceful and harmonious lives is the one that respect the rule of law and order by the citizens. That natural rule of law and order is dead in Naga societies; it has been reduced to the rule of men, the will of those who holds power which has only compounded evil in Naga society. Restoring that rule of law based on truth is the redemption the Naga societies need today. If there is no truth there is no rule of law. To achieve this objective in the context of the Naga society, no secular views or the applied legal means of reconciliation like in Rwanda would really help the Naga faction groups to reconcile or forgive the wrongs carried out in totalitarian authority by the leaders of all faction groups. It is the biblical view that should really become the means of reconciliation to Naga society because through this means must establish a transcendent authority for the law that would enables the Naga commoners to live in security under the rule of law, which is objectively true. Also, the biblical view must help the Naga Christians to recognise the reality of sin and thus provides a mechanism to restrain it. And it is only the biblical worldview that provides us to account for the wrongs we do, deal with our guilt and provides a way for the human heart to be transformed.

The cries of Naga peoples for reconciliation are loud, and the latest Lenten Agreement is welcome by all civil organisations and individuals alike. Therefore, now our leaders need to listen to the voice of the peoples in general and take it forward to reality, beyond mere agreement in papers.

One Govt. One Tax in Nagaland

Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) is the way to ‘One Government and One Taxation’. However, one thing I cannot understand how some of the Nagas are going to dictate forcefully the Naga underground to pay only Tax and form a Government. Will the Naga underground surrender or accept to your dictation?

120 Nation Member Bodies of the Baptist World Alliance

120 Nation Member Bodies of the Baptist World Alliance

Why don’t we support the FNR, have dialogue (consultative meeting) and go Naga public rally instead of trying to forcefully implement ‘One Government and One Taxation’? The FNR would have been working more smoothly and successfully if the whole Naga leaders support them by leaving your own egos. We know that 120 Baptists Church from 120 Nations support and pray for the Naga Reconciliation, and this successful reconciliation would be “One Government and Tax” but our Naga leaders have their own egos.

Which Naga underground faction is going to listen to your demand or dictation without reconciliation? The concept of One Govt. & One tax may be good. Every Naga would love to pay only one tax to one Government. However, but it will be no successful if you become another dictator on this aspect. If some of the Naga public support ACAUT or One Govt. One Tax does not means that the strategies of your movement is on the right track. It is just a momentary and emotional agitation and this emotional agitation will soon vanish from the mind of the people as their leaders are too shortsighted and too emotional.

However, if their leaders cool down and changed their strategies and see from different perception, it may be possible to work out successfully. One should not forget that the taxation problem or other problems are not only to a family or tribe or state. Everyone feels the burden of multi-taxation but this problem cannot be solved by emotional agitation without proper channel and strategies. @Thohe Pou

 

Give Peace a Chance in Nagaland Through Reconciliation

# An appeal to all the Nagas by Naga Youth the Naga International Support Center

Genuine Reconciliation – From Hope to Reality
Peace is in the air
Give peace a chance

Come! Come! Come!

In adherence to the Call for Peace by Naga Youth the Naga International Support Center gladly supports their daring initiative and so calls on all Nagas, young and old, men and women, rich and poor of any Naga tribe to come to:

Hebron Camp of the NSCN on Sunday afternoon at 2 PM 13 October to show Nagas are serious about peace and peacemaking.
20 October at NNC Peace Camp,
27 October at Mon and
3 November at Zunebotho all at 2 PM

Let’s celebrate peace together

The Naga mandate is with NNC, NSCN IM, NSCN K, NSCN KK and so all are responsible for bringing peace through genuine reconciliation; together Nagas are strong.

Bring your placards with slogans like:

Thou shall not Kill
Give peace a chance
No more Fratricide
We celebrate peace
We want Justice and Peace

For more information www.nagalim.nl or email us at nisc@nagalim.nl