Facebook: Where Frienemies Come to Meet

Anyone can be the bully who hides behind the safety of an online account instead of standing up in the real world and facing the music as the person you are.
Anyone can be the bully who hides behind the safety of an online account instead of standing up in the real world and facing the music as the person you are.

“Hatred is the coward’s revenge for being intimidated.” ― George Bernard Shaw

Life is all about improving our situations and with that improvement comes making some adjustments. The adjustment of course is usually delivered in the form of constructive criticism or advice that either those that know us will deliver or those who may not know us can also help us achieve. Not so long ago, I received a link to a post on Facebook that was subsequently written in response to the release of my first book.

Having taken the decision to write and publish a book, I was well aware of both the attention and possible backlash that was headed my way after it hit the shelves but in all honesty nothing could have prepared me for the deluge of pure, unadulterated hatred that was thrown my way, best of all by mostly complete strangers whom I neither knew and most of which definitely know nothing about me or know me at all for that matter. What’s more, its content did not merely reflect the opinion of the book but went on to show that the Facebook owner of the post understands how to use a search engine quite effectively. Anything and everything that was dredged – both true and untrue – was used in this character assassination attempt. It was taken a step further dragging in journalists who had interviewed me, old school friends and existing politicians. Whatever achievement I have accomplished was turned into a malicious egotistical stroke of luck I had somehow got right and anything that was less than nice about me was blown so out of proportion that it made the Parliament’s scandals look like child’s play.

While I am always a fan of people airing their opinion and encourage critique on my work, I fail to understand how by undertaking a personal project such as writing and publishing a book, I angered the Facebook user of this post (let’s call the person Paul) to the point where I was called highly inappropriate names as well as accused of a great number of things from here to literally Timbuktu. Paul claims to be doing Mauritius some kind of justice (or favour) by exposing characters like myself in the hopes that mindless zombies will desist from following me, and what I have to say.

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, naturally, but what I noticed more than the post itself was the apparent debate that ensued in the form of the comments that were posted. I say debate when I should rather be saying witch-hunt because that essentially is what it is. I understand what the point of criticism is and I am well aware that I am not everyone’s cup of tea, nor do I ever strive to be, but the commentary did more than simply criticise my book or how it was written, it attacked the person I am and I am having quite an awkward time trying to understand what prompts such behaviour from people that do not know me at all either publicly or personally.

How quick we are to jump on the bandwagon too? How quick we are to hurl pointless insults that demean as well as attack the very person I am and for what exactly, I must ask. Is the witch-hunt intended to stop me in my tracks, make me call it a day and then find a dark hole in which I remain for the rest of my life too scared to have an opinion ever again? How exactly is it that Paul alone is entitled to so [very] many opinions directed at just about everyone and how does one person – if that be the case – hold so much hatred? I’d like to know how standing up in front of the world and sharing something I and a team of people worked tirelessly on justifies being called some of the most obscene names that strangers have dubbed me. I would also like to know why when someone has the courage to bare a part of him or herself to the world for judgement and dare I say approval, that so many people are quick to pounce on them and persecute them for doing so?

This is the knee jerk reaction I guess, bring the person down. No! Tear the person down! By spreading and contributing to the venom, is this some kind of cathartic release for all those who mindlessly participate like blind sheep too scared to stand up for what they actually believe in, so willing to latch on to anyone whose words sting hard enough in a well articulated manner? All while Paul insists that they are simply trying to see to it that the truth is set free in the form of an ‘objective opinion’. Name-calling and bullying is somewhat the least bit objective but who am I to question this prodigy who is only trying to make the world a better place, one abusive post at a time. Why bother hiding so vehemently behind a pseudonym gathering your crowds yielding their pitchforks, which, only now, are replaced by words? In fact, why bother going to such an extent to break people down around you when you could just do like the barbarians did, and chop people’s heads off leaving them in piles to burn while you celebrate your somewhat sordid victory elsewhere? Maybe that is going a bit too far you say but no, in reality this is what our society seems so hell-bent on achieving – the demise of their fellow humans.

There is the adage that tells us when you want something done properly, why not just do it yourself? Anyone can be the bully who hides behind the safety of an online account instead of standing up in the real world and facing the music as the person you are. Why not share some of the many pearls of wisdom with the world so that things will actually change one day instead of sitting on the fence harping on at everyone who is actually in the game?

So I guess a thank you is in order then. Thank you to those selfless intellectuals like Paul who have so humbly dedicated their lives to ridding society of all the liars, cheats, corrupted, publicity hounds (insert other appropriate terms here…) one online post at a time and all while garnering unwavering support from the [apparent mindless] masses who share this equally motivating sentiment. It’s not an easy job, but hey, someone needs to do it right?

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2 thoughts on “Facebook: Where Frienemies Come to Meet

  1. Hello Krishna,

    Before I start writing those lines, I apologize for my low English level, since I am mostly French literate than English literate but I hope you will understand me in what I will mention hereafter.

    First of all, I am very sorry for the huge bunch of critics which have been flooding against you after the release of your best-seller Ramrajya.

    Whatever that Paul has been doing against you is inadmissible and unacceptable, since he used social platforms and even told so many lies and rubbish to journalists, school friends of yours and even politicians as a hater of yours. In case he used the verbal way to accuse you or to put you in a low position regarding the preparation of that book, just ignore him, since it will be his word against the word of others in one hand, and since, as the French quote says it, “Les chiens aboient, la caravane passe”. But in case he did it in a written way, he deserves then to be punished, since they represent cybercriminal defamation actions which may be prosecuted and may bring him directly in jail.

    It’s very sad that in such a developed, multicultural country like Mauritius, which has a very high level of education and experienced a wonderful economical increase, there are still so many short-minded people who don’t even think about using their brains and who criticize you either by ignorance or for the pleasure of criticize you by basing themselves on unproved facts. It’s very sad also to notice that in Mauritius, most of the time you have to face people who express themselves too, not because they have something to say, but rather because they have to say something.

    Does that idiot at least have a clue about the containing of that book? Did he at least go to the library to purchase that book and read it fully? If he read the book, did he REALLY understand what was written in it? Did he carefully listen and understand what you explained in the interviews and press conferences in which you gave explanations about that book? I am sure that the answer to all those questions is a big NO.

    Myself, I haven’t yet purchased the book, but without even knowing its containing, I may guess that, for the price it’s sold in libraries, and for being such a wonderful best-seller, it necessitated in return lots of researches, interviews, surveys, hard work, sleepless nights which went on for weeks, for months, maybe for years for you to produce it, from its roots to its final fruits. Moreover, though I never read that book before, I am sure that in that book, you neither showed yourself being in favor, nor against the main character. You remained neutral, with objective and constructive information, and you wrote that book with the eyes of an external person and did your best to show the truth about that character.

    When I was in college, I remember having studied in French the different types of narrations in French literature. Among them I have learnt the meaning of the “informative message”, which is the kind of message that you retrieve in documentaries, where you write stuffs without showing any feelings, but only in the aim of “informing people”. I am sure this was what you have been doing in Ramrajya: You spread a very long but intelligent, constructive and well-based informative message in that book, where you had the courage to spread things regarding that main character, which would remain untold among the Mauritian population, but which, by the Grace of God, will be known internationally by the rest of the world.

    Indeed, I am impatient to come back to Mauritius (I told you in one of my previous comments that I am settled overseas) and rush to a library to purchase it since you did a really great job and proved a great courage that maybe no one before you would have showed by writing a book about that celebrity. I never did book reviews before since I am doing my very first steps into writing through that blog, and I even received proposals for book reviews, but definitely if I start reading it, I will do also my personal researches to confirm about what you wrote and ask you questions on stuffs which will seem unclear in what I will read. This is how a cousin of mine taught me to proceed each time I hear anything around me: To never take for granted all that you discover at first glance, but always try to justify what you hear by doing your own survey. One day she scolded me for having mentioned something which a friend of mine told me some couple of years ago about Richard Branson. She asked me “But how do you know this?” and I replied that it was my friend who mentioned that. Then she got angry since I didn’t do my own researches and took my friend’s sayings for granted without even checking whether what he said was right or wrong. I am thankful to her for having taught me that lesson, which I am still learning and trying to practice everyday, except if I have strong reasons to express opinions where I base myself only on my intuition and logic.

    Congratulations for that great job of yours again and, in addition of having thanked that idiot Paul and his blind followers in their race of hatred against you, like Queen sang it in the 80’s, “The Show Must Go On” 🙂

    Like

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