Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Benefits of Being Trolled

In contrast to many of my generation, through both wisdom and experience I have swung from right to left in outlook. In youth, I joined the Young Conservatives and derided the CND brigade for wanting to dismantle our most powerful defenses. Now I have rejoined Labour, and would fight for nuclear disarmament, were the youth of today marching for such issues.
Hiroshima Flag at Half Mast

In my youth I entered foolish arguments about Greenham Common women asking men to "make the sandwiches", not seeing then the wider issues of the rights of women or minorities, or even the importance of nuclear disarmament. Only now that I've visited Hiroshima, and walked in the silent contemplative Memorial Peace Garden, have I been given this Damascene vision: that whole continents such as Africa, South America and Australia/New Zealand can unite to reduce the threat of nuclear destruction. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT) has 189 States declaring. It would be a wonderful step if France and Britain joined too, to make Europe a non-proliferation zone.  Perhaps it is too late for me to act. Death bed repentance is never very admirable, and I can't claim any virtuous result from my enlightenment.

Only through directly witnessing the distress of discriminated groups have I accepted that there is a problem, and that direct action must be taken. We hear of trolls and online abuse, of vituperate comments posted about seemingly innocent remarks, defaming the person rather than disputing the idea, and threatening violent ends to prove their arguments. But the cruelest cut of all is to be ignored. Cut off from social contact or exchange, even at the level of vile criticism, is to be as though one does not exist. In my youth, I posted as "ΔWise", signing anonymously my excruciating comments, and writing poor sketches that were pulled apart. My controversial ideas were attacked in many ways, and I delighted in the battles. Now, I can only look back at the reams of poems, the books, the plays I have written, and sigh. I would have enjoyed returning the stones of the critics and fighting more battles, but it never happened. Probably they achieved what they merited. They received no criticism, no abuse, no rebuttal. They were simply ignored, as this plea for Britain and France to join the NNPT will be ignored.  For people suffering the attention of trolls for their beliefs, their faith or their sexuality, remember: you are winning attention to your cause. To be ignored is the cruelest cut of all.

If you have visited the Hiroshima Peace Gardens,
please add your thoughts...