MyRedLine is a Social Media campaign that aims to bring the voices of the Afghans — particularly their RedLines during the ongoing peace talks between the Taliban, the United States, and the Afghan government — to the fore.
The Taliban only ruled Afghanistan for five years in the ’90s; however, they managed to leave a lasting impression on the Afghan people in that brief period. Every Afghan can recall at least one terrible, frightening experience from those years. Experiences of a dark time they do not wish to revisit or be thrown back into by outside forces.
Over the past 18 years, the Afghan people gained and regained many rights. There have been advancements in human rights, including women’s rights, unprecedented levels of freedom of speech, and a return to democracy. None of these have come cheap. This campaign aims to preserve the achievements of the past two decades while allowing Afghans to vocalize their limitations in making peace with a group that has caused death and destruction in their country.
Farahnaz Forotan and Ferdous Samim co-founded the MyRedLine campaign on March 14, 2019. The campaign began with 30 video clips — each under two minutes in length — each featuring a different resident of Kabul presenting their thoughts on the peace talks between the US and the Taliban in Qatar. The MyRedLine team gave the videos English subtitles to ensure that the target audience, US officials sitting with the Taliban in Doha, understood the messages. All these videos are shared on social media with hashtags: خطـسرخـمن & ځماـسرهـکرښه#, MyRedLine. All of the videos were produced and cast by professional videographers and photographers.
The campaign was officially launched on March 14, 2019, by Farahnaz Forotan’s RedLine. That video contained both a message, “I am a journalist, and I want to remain a journalist. MyRedLine is my pen and my freedom of expression.” A callto action, “What is your RedLine?”
In a brief time, the campaign attracted a lot of national and international attention. It has moved on beyond Kabul to the provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, and Bamiyan. The MyRedLine campaign’s success has shown the Afghans’ determination to ensure that their voices are heard in a matter that has so far not included them. However, they will be the ones left to live through the outcome of any deal reached between Washington and the Taliban.
Most notably, the MyRedLine campaign has shown that the wants of the people and the messages being spread in Doha do not add up. During their meetings with US officials, the Taliban claim that the people, including women, living in areas under their control have no complaints about the quality of their lives. On the contrary, women, especially in Kandahar and Helmand, said they do not want to return to a situation where they cannot get an education or work. The Taliban did not allow women to study and work throughout their five-year rule in Afghanistan.
Further, the people have made it clear that the cyclical nature of the 40-year conflict must end. Afghans are fed up with brief intervals of peace before another catastrophic breakout. Unlike past peace deals, the Afghan people want to ensure that they have a role in setting the standards and ensuring that this will be a lasting peace.
The impact of the MyRedLine campaign has been enormous in Social Media, and Press Media. So far, the campaign has created nearly 20 million Social Media impressions from the publication of the voices from three provinces. The campaign has also had an impact on the vernacular of the Afghan people, with everyone from President Ashraf Ghani to street workers using the term ‘RedLine’ to describe issues of importance to them.
Last Edit: Dec 6, 2020