Someone asked me today if I had ever thought about why I get so much online hate? They were assuming it was because of my political opinions, specifically my criticism of the ruling government. While, it may seem true, but honestly it isn’t that… I have been experiencing online hate long before I even had the ability to form political views. Give this a read:
It was back in high school, I used to be the fat chubby kid, so bullying was always there. I used to be a below average student. When I got 9 A’s in O levels – a huge feat for me, is the first time I really experienced hate. I had seen it before when I would organize school events or stand out in any way – when I used to play the piano etc. But, that is when a whole online group was formed against me on Orkut – long gone social networking site which pre dated facebook for those of you who don’t know. I was bullied for my weight and all hate pretty much spiraled in that direction. It got even worse when I topped the world in O level computer science.
Then the whole 22 A’s happened. That is when most of the hate really started. It went all the way from people messaging me to abuse me/criticize me or hate on me to even in person. Why? Maybe because of what I did. It is one thing to not like a person, to not like what they do, it is another to make it a point to hate on them. I was most surprised when it came from someone who studied at UPENN – a prestigious US University. There was no politics, no criticism of anyone, just me being a 18 year old who had 23 A Levels. I starred in a commercial – got hate for that. Someone made a facebook page for me and gave it to me – guess what hate for that! Why do you have a page? Why do you need a page? It was for all sorts of things. Again, a substantial part of it was on my weight.
Then I joined journalism, and that was my choice of what I wanted to do in my life. Hate for that, and then obviously when I voiced my opinion hate for that. You will be surprised that the same PTI trolls who hate on me today used to make images/quotes of my posts when I criticized PPP and PMLN governments. I was and am strongly against the dharna, and that contributed too.
So the point is, this is something I have faced for the better part of my life now. Bullying and hatred, and coping with them has been a huge part of my life. I am not going to pretend that it doesn’t take its toll on you, it does. However, great friends, great people, and the opposite side of the haters where people appreciate you and support you goes a very long way.
I think I am not the type of person people would have much sympathy for. Male, overweight, reasonably well off, seemingly strong and no real sob story to tell. It also becomes a less guilty endeavor for the haters. And of course I criticize people/policies as part of my job – not necessarily hate on them, but I get that.
I am not writing this because I am bothered by trolls or need your sympathy. I am trying to answer a question, why do I get online hate? It isn’t necessarily because of my political opinions or what I say. I have had it for all my life one way or another.
I want to say to people in similar positions, or who are going through the early stages of what I went through – let me tell you that no matter what the haters do, if you don’t let them, they can never bring you down. It takes energy for someone to hate on you. That means you are important! That means they can’t ignore you! That means they try with all their being to influence you or change you and hate is their medium. Don’t let it get to you, just keep doing what made you awesome in the first place for them to notice you and not be able to ignore you!
If they criticize you about your looks, just know that they don’t have anything else to say.
If you ever need me or need someone to talk, just know I am here always, in your corner, rooting for you. Night or day, no matter what! Much ❤️!
Ali Moeen Nawazish