Edit: I’ve added a link to this post that was supposed to here, but was inadvertently omitted when I posted it.
I find it so completely mind-boggling that the simple private possession of words or images within an individual’s home is frequently enough justification to lock someone in a prison until they rot, to forcibly physically violate and permanently alter a person’s body, to severely restrict any and all forms of speech, and to subject them to a lifetime of constant, close surveillance — or even to kill them outright.
That’s to say nothing of the glee with which all and sundry gather to shame and mock and hurl every manner of bile and hatred when it is made known that so-and-so stands accused of having words or images deemed heretical and vile and of no possible value to any sane, rational, “normal” person. The near-immediate blow with which one such accused is left without employment, community, shelter, dignity. The cries for blood, the warnings to avoid evil ones like them, the insistence in scrutinizing an entire lifetime of complex, nuanced acts in order to find the malice and cunning and evil in every single thing a person has ever done.
I marvel at the apparent inability of so many people to reconcile “this person is claimed to be a word-and/or-image possessor!” with “I believed they had made positive contributions to society!” and to be unable to allow both facts to coexist — and to fall, nearly without fail, on the side of invalidating the latter because of the former.
I watch with wonder at the apparently intentional conflation of “having in one’s possession one or more words or images” with “has actively brought harm on one or more other individuals,” and the assumed implication that even if there is no evidence of harm, that a word-or-image-possessor is always so imminently poised to cause harm that they must unequivocally be prevented from carrying out this imagined harm for which there is no evidence beyond the accuser’s own projected discomfort with some particular words or other particular images.
Even where there is clear evidence that there has been measurable positive effect, that is inevitably spun into some form of harm; if a person possessing images or written words deemed by an arbitrary third party as indicative of witchcraft, or communism, or homosexuality, or belief in Islam, or dissatisfaction with a tyrant ruler, or of being a heretic — anything which is not the dominant narrative — makes the claim that there has been no wrongdoing, maintains that no harm has occurred, this is held up as an indication that they are damaged, broken, incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong, and they therefore deserve any punishment deemed fitting by those in power.
I’m reminded over the last few days that I have… I had… friends and loved ones who have, for any practical purpose, ceased to exist. There are some who were in my life and no longer are, because they were accused of privately looking at images or reading words, or perhaps had discreetly shared these alleged words or images with others who wished to see. I’m reminded that even those who are known and lauded for their positive contributions to any given community will be vilified, shamed, and cast out; they will have every possible aspect of their lives — no matter how personal or private — shouted from the hills so that it can be picked apart and weaponized with the aim of helping to further destroy their lives.
And I’m reminded again (though the thought is never far from my mind, believe me!) that there are many who know me who regularly call for me to suffer this same fate. Oh, mind you, they don’t know they’re talking about me; they’re simply joining in the spectacle of cheering with popcorn in their hands as other heretics are burned. If they knew the kind, caring person I am, I have no doubt that they would eagerly do the same to me. I have often said that there are many so-called friends who would love nothing more than to murder me for my thoughts if they knew them, and I think that most of these people have no idea how much they hate me.
I’ve been saying this for a very long time, in various ways, or at least dropping hints and leaving clues when- and wherever I’m able to do so. And fuck, it’s difficult to know that speaking loudly and directly is not a safe option. Here’s me doing what I can, again.