The fear of being fooled [2]

Finding Bana – Proving the existence of a 7-year-old girl in Eastern Aleppo (Nick Waters & Timmi Allen, Bellingcat, 14 December 2016)

Reading this article reminds me that I left one important strand entirely out from my latest post below. It is the fear of being fooled by the fraudulent narratives of victimhood. Some high-profile cases, such as the blogger of “A Gay Girl in Damascus” and a Muslim college student who reported that she had been attacked by a Trump supporter on the subway, have indeed turned out to be ‘catfishers’. Observers have also voiced a concern over the seeming rise of “victimhood politics“.

Consequently, victims are increasingly pressurised to prove that the suffering is genuine. I personally find this most unstomachable. How many rape survivors, for example, are subjected to secondary victimisation in the name of countering “false rape accusations” – or even the imagined threat of “flower snakes” in Korean public discourse? And the most vulnerable in conflict zones, including 16-year-old Farah Baker in Gaza and now 7-year-old Bana in Aleppo, are to ‘reassure’ people with Twitter’s prestigious blue ticks when they are telling the outside world how bad things are around them.

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