Saturday, 26 September 2015

(SATIRE) The UN rallies to protect world's most vulnerable women from Eritrean war widow

Senafe, Eritrea (2003) Photo by backwards7

Following ugly scenes of online carnage, which saw ordinarily-innocuous capital letters sharpened into improvised weapons capable of inflicting actual physical harm, the United Nations has vowed to step up its protection for a group of women who have been identified by self-styled experts as among the most vulnerable in world.

In a powerful testimonial given to the UN assembly earlier this week, the persecuted women, most of whom are well-heeled, white Americans, unburdened themselves before a rapt audience who were largely absorbed by the contents of their mobile phones.

During the hour-long presentation the victims of oppression described how they had borne the brunt of a tsunami of cyberviolence so serious that it was on a par with the most grievous acts of physical violence. This included so-called “peer-to-peer groping” (attempts by other internet users to engage them in debate) and “comment rape” (open disagreement with their opinions) via social media.

Summing up the event, one of the speakers told the assembled world press:

When harassers willfully deploy rational arguments that effectively demolish the lazily-assembled, self-serving hotch-potch of barely-formed ideas that comprise our collective mindset, they are literally engaging in an attempt to erase our voices from the internet. For too long the actions of these shitlord apostates have been tacitly sanctioned by those in charge of our online spaces.

As one of a small band of women recognised by the UN as being among the most oppressed of my gender, I insist that we are granted moderator powers over the internet as a whole. In line with the current female incarnation of the Marvel superhero, Thor, we demand literal IP ban hammers that will allow us to to tackle cyberviolence quickly, and without recourse to established checks and balances.”

The address before the UN came a day before fresh skirmishes (described by one of the victims as “a literal one-sided rape war”) erupted on Twitter between the UN delegation and their supporters, and an Eritrean women who writes a blog and posts on Twitter under the name - Senafe_Fighter.

In a post highly critical of the UN and its priorities in regard to ensuring the safety of women worldwide, Senafe_Fighter wrote:

I lived the first 21 years of my life under Ethiopian occupation. When I was 11 years old, soldiers loyal to the Mengistu regime came to the cafe that was owned by my parents. They took away my father and my uncle. Years later we learned that they had been executed for aiding the resistance movement. They were strangled to save bullets.

When I was 13 I joined the EPLF (the Eritrean People's Liberation Front). I fought at Nakfa. My sister, who was also a fighter, lost her leg to a landmine. My younger sister and two brothers were killed in the fighting. I do not know what happened to my third brother. My first husband was captured and executed by Ethiopian forces.

After independence I settled in Senafe. In 2000 the town was attacked by soldiers from across the border. They destroyed every building. Because of a shortage of construction materials, three years later, we are still forced to live in tents. I was raped repeatedly in front of my husband. The injuries that I sustained during this prolonged attack required hospital treatment and have left me with long-term health problems.*

These over-privileged American women have elbowed their way to the front of a global debate and demanded that their voices be heard over and above the voices of the genuinely oppressed. By equating any verbal disagreement with their opinions with the most extreme manifestations of physical violence they have trivialised the very real violence that is inflicted upon women in my home country and which manifests itself in many different forms.

These women have never looked on helplessly as the blood pours from the mangled leg of a loved one, while field surgeons frantically attempt to cauterise the wound. They have never watched a man, his expression glazed-over in abject horror as if he has absorbed the collective atrocities of a thirty year war, vomit a viscous tide of red saliva, while with trembling hands, he instinctively attempts to gather the pieces of his lower jaw from between the stones at his feet that are slick with his blood. They have not seen the plains of their home nations strewn with the bleached bones of their kin and the rusting shells of tanks - the antiquated hand-me-down downs from decades-old western wars.

These dreadful women who are driven by material gain and a grotesquely proportioned sense of self-entitlement, are vile and disgusting human beings, who are either unwilling or unable to contemplate the experiences of their gender beyond the limited context of their own intellectually repressed, morally bankrupt social circles.”

The incendiary post has drawn outrage among online social justice communities and has seen its author bombarded with hate mail and death threats:

A wild troll appears...” remarked one commentator in a widely shared tweet, which shared a link to Senafe_Fighter's blog.

Ugh... so distressing, your internalised misogyny,” said another.

An internet user named 'Sister_I'm_a_Progressive131' posted an image of Star Trek's Captain Kirk, evidently in the throes of alien mind control, captioned “Must... resist... urge... to... feed... troll.”

Another wrote:

Don't tone police – You life (sic) in africa and have no idea what's its like in San Francisco.”

Some, emboldened by the UN's tough new stance against the perpetrators of cyberviolence, took a more proactive approach towards their tormentor. Among these was Doxed_Frodo who wrote:

Have acquired SF's real name. Have just direct messaged that if they don't delete their blog and apologise, I will post details.”

A minute later the same Twitter user posted a second tweet publishing the real name of Senafe_Fighter and her approximate location, before adding in a subsequent tweet:

Not doxing. Sharing information about a known harasser.”

Others have also joined the campaign to bring Senafe_Fighter to justice:

Am trying to contact they're (sic) place of work to notify them that they have a harasser working for them. They shoul d (sic) know,” said Tears_of_Riply.

Another commented:

She says in her blog that she's a shepherd. Does anybody have contact details for the Head Shepherd in Senafe?”

A brief statement issued to the press by the UN said that the organisation was aware of the offending blog post and would be meeting to discuss an appropriate response.

At the time of going to press Senafe_Fighter was unavailable for comment. A neighbour, who asked not to be identified, told MODE 5 that, following publication of the blogger's name online, government soldiers had entered her home and she had later been witnessed being led away to a nearby truck. This was subsequently observed being driven out of the town in the direction of Adi Keih, and leaving the main road shortly after.

The eye-witness added:

We found the remains of the smart phone that she used to make blog posts on our nation's snail-paced excuse for an internet, which is slower than conventional mail. We do not know where the soldiers took her. There are many unofficial prisons in this country. People here disappear all the time.”

* Although this is intended as a work of satirical fiction the experiences touched upon in these paragraphs and those that follow were relayed to me by male and female Eritreans who had either experienced these things directly, or had witnessed them happening to others.

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