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Cyberbullies are Cowards

05 Nov 2021 at 13:51hrs | Views
Etiwel Mutero
Am I the only one receiving cyber attacks on social media? What can you do if you are a target of cyberattacks?
In this paper, the author would define what cyberbullying is and what cyberbullies are and give a challenge to everyone who may be a target of cyberattacks.

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behaviour.
Well, I used to read about cyberbullying, only to discover that I am also a target of cyberbullying.
On introspection, I have found that I usually don't hold views which are similar to the majority of those around me.It is like when the majority of those around me are Dynamos supporters, I find myself supporting a different football club or if the majority around me are MDC Chamisa supporters I find myself supporting Mwonzora or ED😁It is because of these differences in personality that I find myself a subject of cyberbullying attacks.

My Facebook profile is public and usually, when I embark on heated factual arguments on Facebook, a cyberbully can quickly search my profile and view my pictures, educational and employment history. The bully sometimes would download and post my photos and mock me saying I am ugly, or say my head is not straight or that I look frail or I am very old and so forth. The idea of mocking me using my photos is just an effort to silence me or to drawn my valid political views. The cyber bully's effort is to shame me before my readers such that next time I won't express my political views freely because I would be afraid of such attacks in the future.

The other form of cyber-attack which I commonly experience is that of "running away" from Zimbabwe and relocating to Namibia from 2016-2020. It is true that diasporans send money back home which benefits the nation at large but there are certain Zimbabweans who hate people in the diaspora. They think those in the diaspora "run away" from Zimbabwe. They think those in the diaspora are cowards who could not withstand the heat at home and decided to run away from economic challenges at home.

The bullies are oblivious of the fact that a degree by its nature is international. A degree is accepted anywhere in the world. So it is a fact that when one chooses to study towards a degree, he has chosen to go international. And you finally find work anywhere in the world using your earned degree,that move of going abroad must not be viewed as 'running away'

In my case, started to study for a degree in Records and Archives Management in 2010 while I was still working for the Zimbabwe Posts Private Limited. I then found a new job at NUST during the same year 2010 and I finished my degree in 2014. When I finished my degree I started to look for fitting job commensurate with my new qualifications.I attended interviews in Namibia while I was still employed by NUST.

So in 2016 I finally moved to Namibia. Cyberbullies would interpret this move as "running away" from Zimbabwe. So whenever I post anything on Facebook or I write an article in support of the government or in support of Zanu PF policies, cyber attackers would ask "if all was well in Zimbabwe why did you "run away " from Zimbabwe in 2016?" The rationale behind that attack is  an effort to change my opinion from that of being a pro-government supporter to an MDC-Chamisa supporter.

In Zimbabwe, MDC-Chamisa supporters think that they own Facebook. They think everything posted on social media must be anti-Mnangagwa and pro-Chamisa. If you dare criticise Wamba you must be prepared to receive a barrage of insults all over Facebook,WhatsApp or Twitter. It is of concern that these insults consist of Shona and Ndebele unprintable words.

In short, criticising Chamisa has been "censored" such that if you are a fearful writter you are forced to join the band wagon of praising and worshing Chamisa.Hee Chamisa can do that and can do this.Now these days there is this stupid slogan of NGAAPINDE HAKE MUKOMANA! Can you imagine a 43 year old referred to as MUKOMA!

The other attack I have received from my naysayers is that of being referred to as a 'librarian'. Although, it is clear from my facebook profile that my highest qualification currently makes me qualify as an archivist and records manager, cyberbullies would like to treat me as a 'librarian'.
Yes I have worked as a librarian at Kwekwe Polytechnic and at NUST at a junior level.During the years I was a holder of a National Certificate in Records and Information Science.I liked my job which invoved shelving,sitting on the circulation desk etcetera

A librarian's job is not shamefull as naysayers would like to potray.I think those people who look down upon librarians have a pre-colonian view of librarians who were not educated, librarians who used to wear those dirty white or khaki dust corts and whose duties were to pull book for readers and shelve back used books using a card cartalogue. Today librarians are educated and manage not only physical books but digital collections as well. I can safely tell you that today university librarians are one of the educated folks in the country holding masters and doctorate degrees most of them.I would like to tell you that most librarians earn more than senior civil servants and so there is nothing to be ashamed of being a librarian.

The problem with cyberbullies is that they can bring to your attention something you posted online even 10 years ago. I remember very well some years ago I was overzealous politically and attacked a former minister on Twitter. When disagreements between Chamisa and Mwonzora arose I decided to take Mwonzora's side. Now in an effort to embarrass me the 10-year tweet was shared with my relatives and spread all over WhatsApp as a way of punishing me for supporting Mwonzora.

According to Foodiemom(2018) "Cyber-bullies hide behind technology as they inflict pain on others. Because they don't physically witness the pain they cause, they tend to be harsh with their words and accusations. Many hide behind fake identities and user profiles. Cyberbullying is generally ongoing and even when asked to stop, the perpetrator continues to bombard their victim with emails, texts and public comments. If they are known to the victim, and a face-to-face meeting is requested, they decline as they can't handle a confrontation. They prefer to express their venom through a screen."

It is my advice to everyone experiencing cyberattacks not to be afraid to stand for one's views on social media or any other platform available to express oneself. Where it is easier to identify the attacker it's better to report to the police. As for me, I won't be afraid to express my views even if the cyber attacker criticise my dressing, looks, refers me as a librarian or that I run to Namibia. I will shame the cyberbullies.

Etiwel Mutero

Source - Etiwel Mutero
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