While on holiday in Thailand just a few weeks ago, I was shocked to return to the hotel where I was staying at and seeing my Twitter feed swamped with hate messages.
It’s not uncommon for me to experience frequent trolling by a specific group of Afghan Twitter users due to my extreme point of views on the rampant racism in Afghanistan which is endorsed by the current Ashraf Ghani administration’s supporters worldwide, my courage to speak up against the western media as propaganda tools, and because of the sensationalism created by my music (#EDMA – Electronic Dance Music Afghanistan).
When I was in India last year, I tweeted a photo of the most delicious chicken tikka I’ve had in years and I had Afghan Twitter trolls responding something along the lines of “half of Afghanistan doesn’t have food and you’re eating this?” – WTF?! Am I supposed to starve myself? Stop eating altogether? Can I not just enjoy some good food? Take pictures and tweet?
Unexpectedly, this years’ holiday trolling came from a journalist named Emma Graham-Harrison who works for The Guardian newspaper based in the UK. Since I was on holiday, I was not on twitter in real time and only managed to check messages once I got back – usually, in the evenings.
This is a classic example of how bad journalists take things out of context and put their own sensational twist for character assassination of people they don’t like.
So here’s what she said:
Unbelievably son of former Afghan president tweeted a “holiday leg” photo in response to bomb that killed 64:https://t.co/Fw0tQZUodM
— Emma Graham-Harrison (@_EmmaGH) April 20, 2016
This is a classic example of how bad journalists take things out of context and put their own sensational twist for character assassination of people they don’t like – much less people they know nothing about, have never interacted with, have never met, or don’t even follow on social media! I was scrolling through the events that had happened in Kabul the day before – worst bombing since 9/11 – and reading angry tweets by Afghan users.
Had any of the trolls taken a moment to stop and think before quoting my tweet, perhaps they’d understand that the advice I gave them was sound and logical; that is, blowing off steam online will not stop terrorism in Afghanistan. Instead of holding the fragmented and barely legal, barely stable National Unity Government (NUG) responsible for the lack of security in the country, what followed online was a storm of hateful trolls just waiting to launch personal attacks. The tweet was mistook as a reference to telling the families of the victims to not be angry – seriously?!
I’m not sure if Ms. Harrison is employed by The Guardian newspaper on a full-time basis or if she’s freelancing for them but if she is contractually employed, I’m sure she’s bound by some standards of ethics and values on top of her journalistic principles and integrity – this kind of trolling of people she has never met or even interacted with (not once) is certainly not exemplary of a journalist working for a reputed name in the international news industry such as The Guardian.
Whatever her intentions, Emma Graham-Harrison could have very simply replied to my tweet for clarification or engaged in a respectful dialogue instead of a cowardly attack to instigate hatred against me.
Many Twitter trolls from Afghanistan and their friends around the globe have tried to bring me down in the past as they still continue to do so with with their hateful remarks and cyber-bullying – The result: I’ve been growing bigger and bigger online every year, my work as Afghanistan’s first ever EDM artist is taking notice and being recognized, and my online community is growing stronger on several fronts.
There’s plenty of trolls waiting for any and every reason to launch attacks against me and much to their disappointment, I’m not going to stop expressing myself anytime soon.
As for Emma Graham-Harrison herself: Next time she intends to quote my tweets, why not start a dialogue instead of trying to boost her self-esteem by taking a bite off my name?
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