On thursday 1st this happened on Twitter:
This kid posted the gruesome video of two men in green uniform brutalising a civilian woman while cursing in French. They swung at her with batons, flung her into a black puddle and made her roll around in it face down. It was outrageous, infuriating. Sickening.
The video was posted by one @Jumaf3.
Now, see. Now look. See this one, putting potholes in the speedbumps on the road to justice.
Obviously the caption is wrong. The heinous act took place in Mali, Burundi, or the DRC, or some place where cops yell French and wear green. We don’t know which francophone human-rights-violating police jurisdiction out of the assortment of them available in Africa was the scene of the barbarian act, so we cannot even direct our ire properly.
If only there was someone committed to truth and justice, like a journalist-cum-activist, to get on the case and bring out the facts so we can do our best to register some protest.
Police brutality happens all over the place, all the time, with impunity. It’s only when it is recorded on video that the community can do something; protest, demand justice, something. Unless you are unlucky enough to be black in America, it might help.
So, this tweeter here tweeted on twitter, a place where errors can be quickly corrected. We pointed out that that was not a Ugandan video and waited for a responsible, professional retraction and edit.
Like, “Thanks for the correction. The incident actually occurred in a Cameroon university…” and the tweet edited accordingly.
But here is the zibble: It’s social media. Twitter. Mbu truth? Truth on twitter is like love in a whorehouse. Yes, it can exist, but it is of minimal impact and most people will treat it as a nuisance and ignore it.
Especially people who like to identify themselves as activists. I have found that people who call themselves activists are often as credible as people who introduce themselves to you as “hero” or “saviour” or “paragon of modesty”. I am much more comfortable with people who say they are “part of an organisation where we advocate for…” than people who thump their chests and croon, “I am an activist! Behold my works, ye mighty and despair!”
Bob Marley is to blame. Bob Marley made calls for change, revolution and the fight for justice but he made them over dope beats and funky music and made them seem cool. People want to be cool.
So now they adopt the mantle of activist, not for the cause, but in pursuit of its glamour.
But fighting is not glamourous. Winning is cool, but fighting is not and is not meant to be. It is meant to involve hard work, sacrifice and injury. At the very least it should involve the effort to get your facts right, or to make your facts right where they are wrong, or to shut up and take your Ls like a grownup.
It’s not like the corrections were impolite, they were quite tame.
But look, look at this one.
This is how Trump became president.
What makes a person so obstinate? This is pigheadedness of the rankest, most vile, most repulsive. When faced with the option she actually decided that she preferred perpetuating misinformation.
Really. It was only when NTV anchors got involved that she issued this begrudging, infantile, pout-and-shrug tweet.
But she did not correct the the mistake, did not delete it, and continued to gleefully retweet anyone who seemed to applaud what she sought to present as her valour. Hours later she was still smirking and RTing everyone who saw it and said Uganda was a rotten godforsaken failure basing on what she had said.
You are flummoxed aren’t you? You ask yourself why? How comes that? What damage inside has occasioned this behaviour? What malfunction is it in her circuits?
I will judge and declare my verdict here. It is what happens when people have more pride than sense, common decency or backbone. We already know why they decided to come to twitter and post videos– because it makes them feel like the stars of a Bob Marley song– but as one activist of recent facebook legend told us, “being a human rights defender is hard”. It involves more than just typing Kilobytes. You need to own up to your mistakes and focus on the issue and not to let personal pride divert attention from the matter at hand to your misbehaviour.
It is not easy. It’s hard. And some people can’t hando.
You know that there is water in a muddy puddle? Oh yeah. There is water there. But with all the stench and filth, bubbling with lumps and clods, teeming with microbes and gross worms… It is essentially water, but it is dirty water. Dirty water has clean water in it, but you shouldn’t drink it.
Social media activism is like that. There is clean water there, butthe puddle is poison now. It has been grossly contaminated by people like this Juma, smug, decietful, narcissists who mine the world for other people’s misery and pain which they then use to aggrandise themselves, to the point where a young woman’s gross humiliation is just fodder for retweets and likes and is not even worth the bother of getting the story right.