Aesthetics of a troll

February 9, 2020

A dissenter, voicing her concerns with such love and devotion, should be called anything but a troll. But sure, if you insist.

They say I am a troll. I say they are wrong. A dissenter, voicing her concerns with such love and devotion, should be called anything but a troll. But sure, if you insist.

The fragility of those that-cannot-be-named has evoked this unbearable desire in me and several others to troll them – harmless humorous stuff. The country has been witnessing a never-ending funeral for satire – not many recognise it. We persist and prevail because we have no other way to make ourselves heard or noticed. Unfortunately, when we do get noticed, either our accounts get suspended or we are charged with sedition. A perfectly normal romantic trolling of the former DG ISPR deserved appreciation. But no! I was suspended for voicing my concerns in the most romantic manner. I was devastated. Where do trolls with broken hearts go?

But in the Handsomistan, we aren’t the only dissenting voices. There are some very aggressive dissenting voices as well. Some call them abusive trolls. A slight discrepancy in my narrative and that of the state’s is enough to trigger this lot. I wouldn’t dismiss them so easily because they have helped me develop a colourful vocabulary. Their standard go-to-trolling involves paying ‘tributes’ first to your mother then to your sister and then to some other female relative of yours. If they could, they would actually find the midwife who was involved in your birth and curse the hell out of her for bringing you into this world. I am telling you, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

You would wonder what makes them so crazy as to abuse everything that breathes – after all it’s only a disagreement. But that’s how they disagree. As Greta Thunberg, the great young environmentalist, said: How dare you? Yes, how dare you deviate from the Punjab Textbook Board’s version of history where Jinnah prayed five times a day and Pakistan won all the wars and lost East Pakistan? How dare you demand basic necessities when God has bestowed Pakistan with the best looking prime minister? See, these simple disagreements lead to such volatile reactions that it’s almost wild. One is forced to wonder perhaps Bangladesh is still East Pakistan and some ghaddaar has tricked one into believing otherwise.

Where do they draw a line? What exactly is the line? Since they are out there on social media, they are probably not even using their original pictures or names. They can easily get away with everything. For them, being abusive is almost a sacred ritual, and “dissenting voices”, such as mine, are deserving of non-stop abuse. They will agitate, they will abuse, yet most amusingly, they will be the ones to block you. And you are left wondering: Hain?

So my dear, there is no line.

The writer can be reached on Twitter at @mahobili

Suppression of dissent on social media in Pakistan