When I read this, I thought of what someone wrote me some years ago. They said that I was wise in shutting down the commboxes on my blogs. Well, dear, this one’s for you. I have some more comments, but let’s read the following first…
Trolls are exhausting, but eternal. They’re like lice, like parasites. When I try to imagine them, in my mind they seem like something slimy, moderately stinky, and thoroughly repulsive. It appears that they come from nowhere… they insult and ridicule, then, they move rapidly back into the darkness, awaiting another appropriate opportunity to attack and to harm. Like rat droppings, they leave their toxic comments at the bottom of the RT reports, and all over other great, often non-Western, media outlets. The better the reports, the more vicious their assaults are. Those writers who manage to effectively deconstruct the main official narratives erected by propaganda gurus of the USA and UK Trolls particularly “outrage” them. Their comments range from “The author must’ve been drunk when he wrote the article”, to the much more elaborate “analytical” slurs. You know that you’re dealing with a troll, when some stereotypical catch phrase pops up… “I’m shocked that RT is now droppings its standards, by using such low-quality reporting”. There are iPad revolutionaries amongst them, or some individuals, defined in some countries such as Eritrea as “useful idiots”. Useful to the Empire, of course!
Most of trolls are “politically correct”. They try to get you by the linguistic standards created by the Empire. You slip and they’re at your throat. You lose your temper, calling someone names in the middle of the battle, and they bury their dirty teeth right into your flesh. Trolls repeat, again and again, that you aren’t what you claim that you really are. You may go from one warzone to another, from one misery created by the Empire to another; you may be exhausted, covered in filth, hardly alive. However, they’ll call you “an armchair revolutionary”. Unless you become some sort of a bizarre character, a Mother Teresa with boots, Leica, and professional camcorder, they’ll smash you for being a hypocrite. Of course, the best would be if you could instantly die and vanish!
They study you. If you smash back at them, they remind everyone that you stayed in a good hotel, here or there, or that you stayed in some warzone for “too short a time”, so, therefore, actually, you’re a coward. They study you… they know, or others tell them, what hurts you. Then, they pin their needles exactly into those sensitive unhealed spots of yours. They never do it to improve the world, or to make us perform better. They only do it to break us, to make us suffer, to put us, so to speak, “out of service”.
Most of us that have covered the infinite wars, conflicts, misery, and revolutions carry a terrible baggage on our shoulders. We all think, often, during those dark endless nights, what could we have done better, more effectively. Most of us are alone during such moments. Then, the bloody trolls come. Like, after Mosul and Lebanon, and right before Eritrea, I finally realised what it really meant that Ms Serena Shim died, most likely murdered. We covered the same story, about the West training the Syrian opposition in Turkish and Jordanian refugee camps… she did it for Press TV; I did it for Telesur and others. She died, but I survived. I cried for her. Not right away, but later… after Iraq…
Then, a troll appeared. They said, “You’re fake”. I did the most stupid thing one could do, because I was exhausted and therefore vulnerable… I engaged with a troll, trying to explain, to defend myself. That’s when they called me an “armchair revolutionary”. I asked, “If I am, then, who’s not?” The answer came, “Serena Shim”. Of course, I’ve almost died on some 20 occasions, but I always survived… even after being tortured, even after being condemned to death on three different occasions. However, I survived, whilst Serena Shim died. That day, finally, I felt like dropping everything, cancelling Eritrea, and just burying myself in the Japanese countryside, writing my 1,000-page novel. Trolls 1: Vltchek 0. Then, I thought, “It’s just a troll. Eritrea needs me”. I ached all over that night, flying from Beirut to Asmara via Cairo. It’s clear that the carefully chosen words of trolls can do more damage than an entire battalion of enemy forces.
Trolls constantly attack me; of course, they also attack Pepe Escobar, Noam Chomsky, Michael Parenti, John Pilger, and the others who systematically uncover the crimes against humanity committed by the Empire. They viciously attack those mainstream thinkers and investigative journalists who finally chose to listen to their consciences, who resign in disgust, who switch sides. Those people like my friend Andrew Marshall, the former head of Reuters in Iraq, who resigned from that press agency after a moral dispute over the coverage of Thailand (Reuters refused to publish his shocking findings about the élites and the monarchy in “The land of the smiles”).
Trolls are capable of tarnishing the reputation of such dissidents by spreading shallow and groundless, but extremely well-fabricated, lies about them. They’re able to and fully willing to ruin the lives of people. They’re always ready! The more decent and brave the people are… their victims… the more excited the trolls get, the more they salivate in anticipation of a revolting feast. Periodically, they even attack those who are still part of the establishment, if they touch on “forbidden subjects”, like the murderous regimes supported by the West… those installed in Rwanda or Uganda, or even in Kenya, Indonesia, Thailand, Egypt, Bahrain, or Turkey.
Many trolls are paid. The great Uruguayan writer and thinker, Eduardo Galeano, once described them to me as, “These people… nobody knows who pays them, and they wouldn’t tell”. However, some trolls are actually “volunteers”, spontaneous busybodies, unable to write coherent essays themselves, but who are skilled enough to produce a few truly insulting sentences and attach them, as “comments” at the bottom of other people’s work. Many trolls are actually very sad characters. They’re mediocre, they have no future, and they suffer from an inferiority complex. They’re cowards! They’ve failed in whatever they’ve tried to do, so, therefore, they hate… barking is all that they have left. They have their favourite bases where they flock together. Apart from the logical bastions in both North America and Western Europe, they enjoy several sunny but ruined spots like West and East Africa, Southeast Asia, Costa Rica, the Gulf States, but also some chillier places, including Eastern Europe and Hong Kong.
Of course, there are professional right-wing ideological cadres that do the heavy-duty smearing. All one has to do is some serious work for Russian RT, or Venezuelan Telesur, or Iranian Press TV, or Chinese CCTV, and your stuff is most likely to be attacked in this way, “So, an individual who contributes to Russian state media was given a very rare media permission for Eritrea and is now tweeting nonsense”. The above comment comes from a very “‘legitimate source”, from a real pro, not from any odd secret and pathetic troll. The author is the @businessinsider’s national security and military editor.
Today, smearing is an entire and huge industry in the West. It forms an integral part of ideological combat, or you may choose to call it the global ideological onslaught of the Western propaganda apparatus. Millions of cadres/apparatchiks in North America and Europe are busy working, day and night, on destroying opposition to the Empire. They’re all over the official corporate media, as well as in academia and all sorts of think tanks and NGOs. These days, academic degrees in certain fields are almost synonymous with terms like “collaboration with fascism” and “betrayal of humanity”.
However, academic smearing and the attacks from media sources aren’t what this essay addresses today. Academics and journalists are “professional” propagandists; the Empire educated and groomed many of them from an early age, through scholarships, funding, and recruitment. What we’re putting in the spotlight today are those little trolls; little shits, those tiny psychological gangsters, who try to break people… fighters against the Empire… through their petty but relentless insults, and personal attacks.
Let’s be honest… almost all of us who face the Empire are, to some degree, vulnerable. We engage in an extremely tough battle with the mightiest adversary on earth. It puts us emotionally and psychologically on edge. It leaves us shattered, battered, and often wounded. All of us need a great dose of psychological support, a home base, at least a tiny group of loving determined people who stand by us, “no matter what”. Yes, no matter what! We need someone who’d rather die for us than to betray us, even if we slip, even if, when exhausted, we babble total crap, absolute nonsense. Without such support, we could easily fall.
Our skin is thin. No matter how brave we are, we’re also sensitive and easily hurt. If we weren’t like that, we’d be whoring, successfully, with the corporate academia and media. We’d be the Empire’s apparatchiks. Several lines of smear often derails us for countless and precious hours, or even days… days that we could dedicate to much more important things and activities, than to the sorrowful licking of our own wounds somewhere in a dark corner. Therefore, I suggest that we fight back! Not just to defend ourselves, but to protect our time and our combat-readiness.
I suggest that we create a group, a “syndicate”, to identify the trolls, to unveil them, and to beat them, intellectually, over their dirty muzzles, back to where they belong, to nothingness. A troll isn’t even “an enemy soldier”, a warrior who landed on the wrong side of the trenches. A troll is only a snitch, a loser, and a collaborator with the régime, a pest… or, they’re simply traitors. Trolls monitor us, compile lists of us, and smear us whatever we say or write. Let’s compile a list of trolls, too! Let’s monitor them, expose them, and shame them. I propose the “United Front Against Trolls” (UFAT)… it’d serve and defend all of us, members of the “new media”… outlets such as Telesur, CounterPunch, or Global Research. Let’s come to the defence of each other; let’s start a pesticide campaign for our great resistance outlets to rid us of these pests. I say, “Down with the trolls! Let’s counterattack, comrades! With vehemence, passion, and deadly humour!”
5 December 2014
This is why I oppose certain people so vehemently. Jonas Paffhausen collaborates with the Uniate enemies of the Church, attempted to ally the Church with “Evangelical” sectarians, and hobnobbed with the American Enterprise Institute… certainly, one of the more feral and disgusting neoliberal stink-tanks out there. Victor Potapov works for Radio Liberty… he’s a longtime willing slave of the Langley apparat… never forget his vicious attack on the late Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger in Georgetown. In like manner, Alexander Webster and Terrence Mattingly are rightwing stinktankers of the worst-possible sort.
However, two people fall into the troll category… Rod Dreher and John Whiteford… I’m a “commie”… I’m a “Bolshie”… my personal life is grist for their mill. As for their families and personal life… I REFUSE to attack those… just because a troll reaches into the gutter doesn’t give you the right to do likewise. I oppose them because they defend clear, objective, and manifest evil. I oppose them because they repeat the lies of the Hegemonist Establishment. I oppose them because they’re apologists for Republican greedster murderers who don’t scruple at torturing and killing in their pursuit of filthy lucre and power (they applaud Republican pigs who support the Uniate war criminals in Novorossiya)… they call themselves “Pro-Life”… what an imposture! I do NOT oppose them because I hate them, their families, or their path in life.
Yet, that’s what trolls do. They’re the bane of anyone who does serious work on the ‘net. I’d remind my readers of the fact that Mr Whiteford lacks a real Orthodox formation as a clergyman (that takes some five to six years of study and residence at an Orthodox seminary, at least) and that Mr Dreher calls himself a “paleocon” whilst having lived the life of a veritable peripatetic nomad (he’s lived in four widely-separated metro areas in less than ten years… this lack of rootedness in any one place negates any claim of his to being a “conservative”).
I do NOT claim “final authority”… but some of my negative interlocutors DO claim such. I’d only observe that people of such ilk are unreachable. Do have a care if you interact with them… they’re nasty and bloody-minded, and anything that you might say to them may become public property, posted on the internet for all to gawk at. I know whereof I speak…
Have a care. There be fresh cowpats in that there field. Shit is very difficult to clean off one’s boots, even if one steps in it unintentionally…