Ethics and Law in New Media/Different People, Digital World

Choose a minority group and describe how they can make use of Internet to reduce alienation and prejudice.

I am choosing my community as we are Lithuanian’s minority in Poland. I was born in a small city called Sejny, 20 km from the border with Lithuania. Before 1920 this land belonged to Lithuania. Now, there are 7 thousand people living there and 30% of them are Lithuanians. We have a consulate, one Lithuanian school (for kids aged 3-16) and “Lithuanian’s house” – our community building where there are a lot of stuff going on (like classes of  folk dances, concerts, plays, art exhibitions, meetings with important Lithuanian politicians, all kinds of conferences, weddings and much more…). It does help a lot but only to the people that are close by. That’s why we have some web sides where first of all you may read the news about Poland’s politics toward minorities, about history and following events, about people that are working or were working for the benefit of the community, interviews, and everything else that might interest minority members. Still the internet is not so popular among elder people that’s why our regional newspaper “Aušra” is quite popular.

What is interesting for me – the stuff that young people did (one would not think that they are so conscious and willing to be a part of the minority [the life in it is not so easy and there are plenty of people that prefer just assimilate with Polish people and have one thing less on their shoulders, I’m not sure about the hart]).

  • more or less 5 years ago there was a private forum made by young guy and  got really popular among the students that left their hometowns and went to study in Poland or Lithuania. The good think about it was that you could talk about the problems that you were facing and be really understood (the first years might be really difficult as in Lithuania they see us as Poles, and in Poland as Lithuanians – so you can feel free only in your “natural” environment, especially because Poles and Lithuanians in general are not do good friends…). The name of the forum was “virtual bar” – so we could talk about anything and reconnect with our old friends.
  • student’s blog – it was founded in 2006 and it’s purposes are mainly for fun, good type of fun – making ironies of stupid political steps and so on.

Another, more important pages:

  • http://www.rblb.na.by/yorg.html — unifying young Lithuanians all over the world
  • http://www.vdu.lt/pla – a project unifying Lithuanians all over the world by exchange programs, internships (this year they organized an internship for 50 USA citizens that are the 4th generation of Lithuanians, some of them do not speak Lithuanian and didn’t know anything about the country – they knew that their grand grand parents came from Lithuania)
  • http://www.punskas.pl/org/LLEKD/1.htm – Ethnic culture association – organizing a lot of aircraft competitions and this way promoting traditions and customs
  • ausra.pl – the most important newspaper accessible online with possibility of leaving comments, what is very important because the articles may be quite polemic and it is impossible to debate anything just by reading the real paper.

I think that Internet facilitates a lot of things for minorities. First of all because they are able to access all the sources of information from Lithuania and have an objective opinion as Poland might sometimes “misunderstand” something.

And of course it’s the easiest way to connect with other minorities in the same or other countries. It’s perfect tool for young people because they can stay in touch and feel as a part of the minority even if they are far away. I am a living example 🙂

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