Thursday, 30 June 2016

THE POST THAT FACEBOOK BLOCKED [BLOG]

Fortunately a friend thought to take a screenshot, where I failed to.
24 hours later, the likes/shares had over tripled.

On Friday 24th June, I like many of the nation, was mortified.

After a full day of being around people openly discussing their views on the referendum result, and then getting home to see countless Brexiteers goading upon social media, both directly and passively (telling people to "move on" a mere 18 hours later was incredibly patronising, however nobly intended), something in me snapped. So I wrote a fairly visceral response on my personal Facebook page, not perhaps observing the same politeness and/or courtesy I would normally aspire to.

After years of writing and discussing political events on social media (and since late last year, this dedicated blog), the reaction quite literally blew my mind. It was nothing short of incredible. By the morning of Monday 27th, the post had been liked by around 27.2k people, and shared by 18k. I received hundreds of friend requests and follows, and the same of messages - a fair bit of hate mail amongst them, but mostly it was people thanking me and commending me for what I'd said, sometimes writing at length to tell me of their own experiences. It was very moving. Some of the messages can be seen here.

I also sadly lost a fair few friends, and clashed with a few more too - something that saddens me immensely. But that's the whole point of having principles: you don't alter them dependent on the company you keep, or who's listening.

For an aspiring writer and political commentator, one cannot hope for more than to be heard, or for our ramblings to be valued. Although I'd be lying if I didn't admit some of the unpleasant stuff unnerved me, the words that these kind, emotionally battered people across the UK and beyond offered in turn renewed my confidence, and gave me faith that perhaps all the hours of writing and pondering are not completely in vain. It was something to be grateful for amid all the insanity and fear.

Then Facebook took it down.

Unbelievably, the idea they'd do such a thing had not even occurred to me, so I hadn't even bothered to take a screenshot. (The best I have is a screenshot taken by an acquaintance of several years, a very sweet girl named Rebecca, taken almost two days prior to being removed.)

Yep, I'd been fairly rude to people who were taunting Remain voters: I'd called them "smug assholes" and had told them to "fuck off", and I did so quite deliberately. I also later described many of us as being "fucking outraged". That was it. Nothing else. Nothing obscene or gratuitous, not even the suggestion that ALL Brexiteers were prejudiced or xenophobic (the most touted criticism I received), I just simply wouldn't back down from my assertion that many are, or that those moved by other motives had been grossly misled. And I stand by that.

Ok... hardly courteous I'll concede, but I'm pretty confident there's far worse out there in public cyberspace that remains uncensored. And probably worse in just about any school playground up and down the country. I'm an adult for God's sake, and I can swear if I deem it appropriate! The fact there are hate-groups out there peddling their filth on social media, but my words should have been censored, is just straight up preposterous - but also incredibly worrying.

To be honest, I think it was perhaps exactly because it was such an abrupt/guttural response that it resonated. Those on the Left tend to argue more with reason, ethics, and cogent argument: tip-toeing around those of different opinions, attempting to remain respectful to all. We do not often offer such "fighting-talk", and those on the Right are certainly not as used to having it flung at them.

I've reposted here, and it has still provoked a reaction - but with no where near the same accumulative audience - not even the same playing field. Facebook quite literally decided to snuff out a political ideal gathering momentum, without tangible cause or justification. There's a lot more to say about this than I have time to offer right now, but I wanted to make note of this quite significant event on my personal blog (which I've been neglecting of late, in favour of mainstream social media), and to put another copy of the post out there (in case it's taken down again).

Here it is:

"To all the smug assholes now telling us we need to "get with the programme", "accept the result" and essentially "stop moaning", I have some words for you.
Fuck off.
Sorry, I can't be bothered to put it any more eloquently.
This is not some meagre general election, or a minor political disagreement. You have changed the world for the worse. You have categorically reversed progress, threatened the security and future cultural opportunities of our children, doomed this country to insular Tory government, and informed the world in no uncertain terms that we, the people of Britain, really are nothing more than arrogant, xenophobic supremacists and football yobs with outdated delusions of colonial grandeur. Nice one.
You have given resurgence to right-wing nationalism, you will possibly have broken Europe up into competing states (eg: the cause of centuries of war) and you've probably broken up our very own Great British union as well. Yet somehow have the nerve to call yourself "patriots".
On top, you've condemned the people of Gibraltar to a very uncertain, tense future too. (If you don't know why or what I'm referring to, you really shouldn't have been allowed to vote in the first place.)
But what I maybe take most offence at, is you've allowed an absolute monster of a man, Nigel Farage, to stand up and tell the people of Britain that we the rational and non-xenophobic... we who see people as human beings and not a country of origin, that WE are neither "decent" or apparently even supposedly "real" people. Whether you share his views, whether or not you yourself are racist etc, it matters not - the result is the same, and shame on you for allowing such a thing to happen. I for one cannot forgive that.
No - we're not going to just "be quiet". We are fucking outraged. The only difference is we're expressing our fury with words, as opposed to the violence and bigotry your side would no doubt have demonstrated if common sense had actually won the day. (I suppose the only saving grace is we've at least avoided that bit.) I actually dared to hope the tragedy of Jo Cox's murder might've woken "decent" people up to what was really going on here - but sadly not.
To the many friends I've made across Europe over the past few years, and European friends over here... to my friends in France and Germany (two of my favourite places in the world), Poland, Spain, Portugal etc, I apologise on behalf of my ignorant nation. I apologise for the fact we have learned no lessons from history, and I apologise for the fact we have told you you're not welcome in our country. Please believe that not all of us in Britain are so small-minded and full of misplaced bitterness/arrogance. If anything, please feel sorry for us: for the fact our nation is so easily manipulated and brainwashed by right-wing propaganda and subterfuge.
Btw, if you don't like this status, please feel free to delete me. (In fact, I think I'd prefer you did.) I don't care if it means losing 52% of my friends list. I am proud to stand by what I believe in, and will not "tone it down" to appease people who have violated my country and its humanitarian ethos. I am only standing here today because once upon a time, Britain actually WAS a noble and virtuous place, taking in Europeans fleeing for their lives - it certainly isn't any more."

3 comments:

  1. Love this piece. When I first read it on Facebook it firstly allowed me to justify my anger and dismay at our Country's vote to leave. Secondly it helped me start to unravel my emotions and get with a broader understanding of what happened. Thank you Mac. Keep'em coming and congratulations on the Canary connection :)

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  2. Such a great post, the meaning of your post has not been diluted with time, just made more salient, please re-post it on FB, would love to see it go viral again.

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    1. How very kind. I very much doubt it would though...

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