The Cult of Hillary enforcers: Obscene vitriol and hatred
I awoke one morning this week to discover a private Facebook message full of pure obscenity-laced vitriol.
As a writer who tackles thorny issues in the Middle East, my first thought was that it might be an angry Netanyahu supporter, or a right-wing crank.
I recalled neo-con rampages when my first book on Iraq, Dancing in the No Fly Zone, came out in 2006. As these were fairly early days for Facebook, I was instead stalked on Amazon by casual "reviewers" who called me a "Saddamist" for writing that women I met in Baghdad felt safer before the invasion. There were comments from Likudists on my articles on Palestinian women that had me "advocating for jihadists".
But no. This was worse than that. The obscene message was not from a right-wing nut bar or Pentagon-funded think tank but from a Hillary enforcer. A guy I knew who was normally quite milquetoast, and enjoyed reading Robert's Rules of Order.
He was employing a variety of four-letter words and invoking a number of cardinal political sins. My crime? Having shared a video of Green Party candidate Jill Stein calling for Americans to "vote with their conscience".
Suddenly, I was condemned as an evil splittist in a cult that can stand no criticism of its leader.
|There is nothing like the wrath of angry entitled liberals disguised as feminists|
Ironically, I've been receiving a plethora of abusive online comments from angry Canadian (not American) men, mansplaining why I should unconditionally support the Hillary - a neoliberal hawk - as a "feminist".
The parallel "fem-splaining" - exclusively from a rather monochromatic and privileged subset - is just as heinous.
Let me tell you, there is nothing like the wrath of angry entitled liberals disguised as feminists. They really are the worst. There's no reasoning with them and their unbridled enthusiasm for the Hillary. They are born again in their conviction that only the Saint of Goldman Sachs in the white pantsuit can save us from the Trump monster.
They seem oblivious to the fact that Hillary is the dream GOP candidate, backed by neo-cons such as Robert Kagan, and that - while her rhetoric and her base differ from Trump's, her political actions line up quite nicely, as Paul Martinez notes, with his campaign promises - from "superpredators" to "illegal immigrants" to the Middle East.
It's bad enough that those of us who live outside the great televisual Satan have to endure months of prime-time images of a fatuous car salesman-crazy uncle with a penchant for neo-Nazi ideology competing with a neo-liberal hawk claiming diplomatic immunity as a "feminist" - but now the seemingly transnational online harassment of naysayers has begun in earnest.
|Comment: Palestine and Hillary - 'the lesser evil'|
There is no spoonful of sugar helping this medicine go down. It's more like force-feeding. Hillary is good: Trump is evil; resistance (and critical thinking) be damned. To borrow a phrase from Dubya: "You are either with us or against us." If you deign to say anything that might taint the image of Saint Hillary, you are deluged with vitriol from her minions. And I live in Canada. I can only imagine what it's like actually living inside the belly of the beast.
Meanwhile in Iraq, a place that Clinton helped destroy with her vote for an illegal invasion and occupation, and more recently saw as a "business opportunity" Iraqi women are taking the Hillary's talk of "feminism" with a large grain of salt.
Don't forget, this is a place that, prior to the 2003 invasion and the previous 12 years of US and UK-backed UN sanctions - and even at the height of the eight-year war with Iran - had the highest status of women in the Middle East.
Before the deaths of a million people, as Reagan armed both Baghdad and Tehran, this is a place that had the first woman judge, ambassador and government minister in the Arab world, as well as subsidised daycare and reproductive rights. Before the invasion, it held a secular constitution - before the US helped enshrine sectarianism, leading to an environment which fostered the emergence of the Islamic State group.
|I imagine mothers of children killed in Gaza by the Israeli military, whose actions Clinton supports, share their Iraqi sisters' opinion of Hillary's 'feminism'|
I imagine mothers of children killed in Gaza by the Israeli military, whose actions Clinton supports, share their Iraqi sisters' opinion of Hillary's "feminism" - as do women in Libya, freshly bombed by US aircraft, as the nation continues to bleed from wounds inflicted by the 2011 US-led regime change, as championed by Hillary.
So, online Hillary Enforcers, please cease and desist. I can't celebrate her nomination as a feminist victory - no matter how much mansplaining I receive about how I should. I cannot willingly "disconnect" her complicity with right-wing thugs and human rights abusers such as Netanyahu, or her wider hawkish stance on foreign policy, with her purported struggle for "gender equality" at home.
Clinton does not speak for me - as a woman or as a human being with a conscience - any more than Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher or Indira Gandhi did.
To pretend otherwise is disingenuous at best. To force her down our throats and condemn all criticism for fear of a Republican bogeyman, when she is praised by the likes of Dick Cheney, Richard Perle and Laura Bush, is about as democratic and progressive as the DNC.
Hadani Ditmars is the author of Dancing in the No Fly Zone: a Woman's Journey Through Iraq. A former editor at New Internationalist, she has been reporting from the Middle East for two decades. Her next book, Ancient Heart, is a political travelogue of Iraqi heritage sites.
Follow her on Twitter: @HadaniDitmars
Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.