A Digital Quest for Peace: Diaspora Attempts in PalTalk for National Reconciliation

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Abstract

This qualitative study explores the multifaceted utilization of PalTalk, a popular chat
platform, as a secure and inclusive space for vibrant communal discussions among
Eritreans, compensating for limitations in physical public spheres. Focusing on peace
and reconciliation, exiled Eritreans effectively document human rights violations and
challenge dominant state-led narratives on militarism and conscription. The study unveils the nuanced understanding of peace, highlighting barriers posed by mass militarization and participants’ aspirations and uncertainties. It acknowledges limitations of peace education without ongoing processes and conducive environments, addressing concerns about truth sharing and debates, including absence of alleged perpetrators and challenges of linguistic accessibility and inclusivity for ethnic minorities. Despite challenges, Eritrean PalTalk platforms contribute constructively through historical documentation, nonviolent advocacy, and collaboration with international organizations for justice. Notably,the platform disrupts state-led discourses, unearths concealed stories of violence, breaks the cycle of silence, and questions the normalization of violence in nation-building. This study illuminates the transformative potential of new media public spheres in peacebuilding efforts.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-112
Number of pages18
JournalAfriche e Orienti
StatePublished - 2023

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