Dear cyber bullies,
A few days ago, something big happened. Jimmy Gait, one of Kenya’s top artists, cried on national TV. He complained that the bullying he got online was too much. In case you missed it, you can watch it here http://bit.ly/2rxoiY6. Just because of one song which the social media sphere deemed to be lacking originality. If he thought his tears were going to get you to feel bad and apologetic, he was dead wrong!
You got back online and made fun of him some more. Tears don’t move you! We can debate the sincerity of the tears all decade long, but that is neither here nor there. Especially given the fact that he released a song based on your trolls. He made money off your bullying. The joke is on you. Now let’s look at the bigger picture.
There are thousands other people who are online to connect with people beyond their bedroom walls. These people share their lives, beliefs and opinions. Sometimes they are just making a contribution to a given topic of discussion, sometimes they hope to find people who share their passion and maybe one day become friends in real life. It can happen, people have gotten married off social media. You don’t believe that though, because you belong to the ‘mtaachana tu’ negative energy bandwagon. So you lurk in the shadows, waiting for these innocent people to make an effort at expanding their circle before you strike.
You turn anything about them into a troll; their profile pictures, their names, tribe, family, name them. Anything associated with them. Everything. Sometimes, it is just harmless fun and even the victims manage to laugh it off. Other times, everything gets out of hand. Since the victims aren’t some celeb to be invited to top shows to unburden their troubles, they are left traumatized and broken. In fact, most people come to know of what their loved ones had been undergoing when it is too late. Unfortunately, instead of realizing the consequences of your actions, you call it twicide. Which is basically blaming the victims for getting bullied.
Do any of you have any idea how Evans Gikunda is doing now? Or you were done being concerned about his personal life when you got tired of making fun of his misfortunes? How many others have deactivated their social media accounts just to run away from you? Do you even care if the scars you inflict follow them into their real lives and they find it difficult to associate with their peers? Or do the unimaginable and commit suicide? We won’t have to dig deep to find you the statistics.
Dear cyber bully, let me remind you of something. That single mother you are calling a hoe has someone who looks up to them and needs them. They can’t be there for them if they (the single mothers) are not in the right frame of mind. That hustler whose business, online or otherwise, you are dragging through the mud for flimsy reasons maybe has mouths to feed on it.
That man you are calling trash at every slight opportunity is someone else’s shoulder to lean on, don’t break it. That girl you are abusing in the DM because they refused your sexual advances just wants to be faithful to their partner. Would you be comfortable if someone publicly shared your sister’s contacts so that she can be shamed for delaying payment on a dildo?
I know you will say there is no such thing as cyberbullying. You will say that whoever feels they are being bullied should just get offline and interact with people in real life. ‘If the heat is too much for you, you get out of the kitchen’ analogy. Why don’t you try this- if you feel that your online existence depends on bringing people down, why don’t you get off social media. You should also consider getting professional help. Guidance and counseling, you know. Because if you can’t say anything positive, then you shouldn’t say anything at all.
You see, I used to be a bully too. Only that my ‘sphere of influence’ was limited to WhatsApp groups. In my defense, that was the easiest way I could get myself thrown out of groups I had been added to without my permission and had no value whatsoever. One day, I decided to be a better person and made an effort to personally apologize to those I had offended. I made peace with myself, and with them too. They made me understand the pain I put them through. They understood that deep inside I was a good person. Their friendship is one of the best things to have ever happened to me.
Please, be humble. Make peace with yourselves. Deep inside you are a good person too. Deal with your insecurities that make you always want to bring people down.