I’ve been troubled ever since I researched background material for A House in the Sky just over a week ago. One of the places I went to gather more information was to YouTube interviews Amanda Lindhout had done with various members of the fourth estate. There was nothing about the interviews themselves that bothered me; they were conducted by people who had read the book and done their research and Amanda answered all the questions, even the difficult ones, with a poise and sincerity that impressed me.
What I found disturbing were some of the comments posted by viewers. Shielded by the anonymity of the web, many of the posters used language that I was brought up to believe was unacceptable. Some of them commented on each other’s comments in a similar vein and some of those remarks came across as racist. Hopefully, they don’t speak that way in their inter-personal relationships but maybe I’m just overly optimistic.
Here is a young lady who has clearly been through an ordeal (one only has to Google her name and find photos that affirm her condition on being released from her 15-month captivity) and has come through it with an attempt at understanding and forgiving her abductors. She has turned an unfortunate event into something positive by establishing her Global Enrichment Foundation, trying to empower women who live in these war-torn countries through education and a means to support themselves. What Amanda has achieved in the few years since her ordeal is nothing short of amazing. Yet people living in countries such as Canada and the U.S. who have never experienced anything near the repression and poverty of Somalia or Kenya are prepared to weigh in, clearly without having any first-hand knowledge, to condemn Amanda and to further abuse her in a manner that is surely carrying freedom of speech to an unacceptable extreme. People who call women those kinds of names are nothing less than mysoginists. To suggest that rape involves sex rather than brutality is naive at best; someone in leg irons is not having a fun time. Why is it that some people feel it is acceptable to say something on the net they wouldn’t say in front of their mother? I don’t understand why that sort of rubbish, for I can’t imagine that anyone can see it as anything but rubbish, is allowed to remain on the net. Are we that afraid of censorship that we refuse to distinguish between what is acceptable and what is not? Are we just to pass on and pretend that we didn’t notice it? Share your thoughts!