A well-known anecdote: a woman twists her ankle on the stairs of British parliament. A deputy helps her, and the grateful woman asks how she can thank him for helping her. “You could vote for me in the elections”, suggests the deputy. “Maybe I’ve twisted my ankle, but I surely haven’t gone mad”. The anecdote is about the British…
It’s big fun to read, onlines, the comments of citizens who are both social active and anonymous. But why do they write anonymously? Is it because they are ashamed of what they write? Are they ashamed because they write when they actually have nothing to say? Science is yet to unveil this mystery - and it might unveil a lot of fear and comfort.
Paradoxes are fascinating! A bunch of people are out on the streets, trying to attest the authorship of their works, while another bunch of people is trying hard to hide it.
Any creation, whether we’re talking about the light bulb, the telephone, the nuclear bomb or the Internet, has a creator. And only the trolls’ “creation” is anonymous. Don’t they want honors, medals, monuments? They might be the only persons on Earth, who work unselfishly. Or almost unselfishly. Those who are looking for trolls should have a few requirements, such as: to be afraid of their own name and of the employer; to adore the comfort of anonymity and of receiving the payment in envelopes; not to ask – nor someone, neither themselves – any questions; not to think and to use an odious language.
Following an anonymous’ footsteps
The anonymous person is not quite anonymous. He/she calls himself/herself “subject 90” and, in order to get to his/her writings, I have to read the news he/she writes about. I have to start from quite long ago, from St. Vasile’s Eve on January 13th, 2016. I’m reading a subject on hotnews.md, taken over from politics.md, with the title ”The DA Platform have made a fool of themselves. They only managed to gather two thousand people at their protests”. With respect and care for me, the reader, the portal tells me that “on the other hand, an almost spontaneous action, organized by an unknown organization, has gathered about 70 thousand people… with the purpose to support a DPM candidate and to continue Moldova’s European way” and that “the DA Platform has asked President Timofti to reject the candidate and, this way, throw the country into repeated parliamentary elections and political and economic instability”. We must, thus, understand, that the Platform asked the president to throw the country into political and economic instability. The “subject 90”’s reaction to the news was not long in coming. At around 4 p.m., when the protesters from the both groups were still there, “subject 90” comes to “awaken” us: “Are there people who still believe in the Platform’s lies? The people are tired of this show. We want stability, we want salaries and pensions, and certainly no repeated elections.” (http://deca.md/hotnews.md/articles/view.hot?id=33198). Let’s observe a few things: the news is about two protests – one was organized by the DA Platform, the other one was organized “almost spontaneously, by an unknown organization, and the “subject 90”’s reaction concerns only the “DA Platform’s lies”. “The people are tired of this show etc” writes “subject 90”. “The people” includes me, too. But I haven’t asked anybody to say, on my behalf, what I am ‘tired of”, what I “want” and what I “don’t want”.
I’ve told about this to a lot of people, and I’m going to tell it to “subject 90” also. On January 13th, 2016, I was working in my office, which is on a small street in the centre of the capital. I was about to go have a smoke, and, when I opened the door, I nearly hit to men: one was young, the other one was older. The last one greeted me as if he had known me for a long time and told me: “We’re looking for a place to eat something and drink something, but since we don’t know the city…”. I invited them in my office ( there is enough room at the table for three people), told them they are free to do what they had to do and went to smoke. When I came back, they were eating chicken thighs from two plastic bags (they called that “suhoi paiok”) and were waiting for me to open the vodka. They turned out to be pleasant people; they came from the north of the republic. The younger one, who was shy, came for the first time to the capital. The older one had worked, in his youth, in Chisinau for a while. Both were brought to the “almost spontaneous” meeting. They were given “suhoi paiok” and 50 lei each. That’s what they told me. The old man had heard that some people were given 100-150 lei, but he supposed they weren’t given “paiok”. He said his name was Vasile and that his wife was, in fact, supposed to come to the meeting. She held a position in the village they lived in and, on the day before the meeting, was told: “If you don’t go to the meeting, you will lose your job”. “But”, continued the unexpected guest Vasile, ”my family is used to receiving guests on St. Vasile’s Day, and what were we supposed to welcome them with?” So they decided that the wife, who held a position, would stay home and get ready for the holiday, while the husband, who held no position, would go to the meeting. But, the meeting was boring and, after they registered, he asked the young man, who was from the same village, to show him PMAN and other places in the city center. While crossing the PMAN, they shouted a few slogans supporting the Platform, then went farther, till they ended up in a small store which sold vodka.
We have discussed in the office, until someone called, in the afternoon, and told them the hour and the place from which they were going to go home. That’s the story. Now, you have two tries to guess what I am supposed to think about the story and the comment on it?!
If it were... Instead of conclusions
If I were an employer of active anonymous citizens, I would require more creativity. Maybe I’d find myself lacking employees.
If I were the chief of the active anonymous citizens association, I would only accept members, who would not compromise the “profession”. Maybe, this way, the association would find itself lacking members.
If I were “subject 90”, I would give up on my “profession”, since he/she, just like the British deputy mentioned above, has not convinced me to adopt their mentality.
The article was published within the Advocacy Campaigns Aimed at Improving Transparency of Media Ownership, Access to Information and promotion of EU values and integration project, implemented by the IJC, which is, in its turn, part of the Moldova Partnerships for Sustainable Civil Society project, implemented by FHI 360.
This article is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The content are the responsibility of author and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.