“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?