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Writer took the easy route

March 28, 2013

Dear Sir,

Maynard Dill, chairman of the Progressive Labour Party, has written an Opinion piece stating that One Bermuda Alliance supporters are guilty of “hateful talk”, “ugly race-baiting and bigotry that often masquerade as meaningful political debate”. He goes on with “online OBA contributors taking full advantage of the cover of anonymity to launch numerous, unprovoked attacks upon black Bermudians”.

Those are very heavy, blanket statements to make Mr Dill, and I'd like you to back them up with some facts. Have Mr Dill and his Party decided that valid criticism of the past government is somehow “hateful” and/or “racist”? I guess that would be an easy route to take — a handy cop out?

The majority of the posts critical of the past Government I have read over the past months have been direct — even forceful in their analyses regarding the past Government's dreadful mistakes — mistakes we may never be able to correct. Does Mr Dill contend that criticism of the past Government can be defined as 'racist' based on the fact that the PLP Government was a Black Government? Therefore, the criticism has to be racist?

And, why does Mr Dill assume that all the bloggers critical of the PLP are white? Has he discounted the majority of the population for expediency's sake?

Also, he does need to know that many of us are aware that there are those who post mischievous comments, using code words, pretending to be somebody they are not. A cynic might think that those bloggers are trying to cause the very problems Mr Dill discusses.

If Mr Dill and his colleagues want to enter into 'meaningful debate' on these issues, let's hear what they have to say in rebuttal of the various straightforward criticisms they have received over the past number of months. Does the PLP have any valid explanations for the innumerable, very serious issues facing us today — brought about on the PLP's watch?

Of course, he may be referring to the few bloggers who may, or may not be OBA supporters who revel in their gratuitously offensive comments. The ones who glory in calling the past Premier Paula Cox the “Cog”, or Lt Col David Burch as “the hand bag”. If he is, then Mr Dill is confusing “racist” with offensive, puerile and immature'. Sensible people do not pay attention to wacko bloggers.

But, back to Mr Dill's broad, sweeping and unsubstantiated opinion piece. He wrote about Bermuda's “need of (sic) visionary leadership” and “a leadership that is willing to do whatever it takes to bring the races together under the banner of unity and shared destiny”. Is he saying that the OBA cannot provide that leadership? If so, on what basis? Or, did he just think that that glib hyperbole would look good in print and was not prepared to let facts get in the way?

He then goes on with, the current Government's, “ ... deafening silence in the snarling face of the hate speech that has become an odious go-to strategy on the part of some of its supporters”. I've covered the subject of gratuitously offensive comments and I've also mentioned straight-talk bloggers (those with valid criticisms of the past Government). That leaves very few posts (and I'll come back to that subject in a minute), that could even come close to “snarling hate speech”, or even “odious”. When responsible bloggers come across posts of those descriptions, and, yes, they do happen, (but, not anywhere near with a frequency Mr Dill is suggesting), we hit the abuse button.

Lastly, as a blogger myself, I have seen innumerable, hateful and sweeping comments from bloggers claiming to be staunch PLP and/or union supporters. Every day, they write inflammatory, unsubstantiated comments simply for the sake of provoking other bloggers — usually under the username Betty Trump. From a personal stand point, they are so puerile I can't be bothered to hit the 'abuse' button, but, Mr Dill might consider keeping an eye out for these regular bloggers. He could then post his own asking them to stop, or, at the very least, to stop claiming to be PLP supporters. He could tell them that their diatribes are full of hateful talk, ugly race-baiting and bigotry — that they might even be described as “snarling hate speech”. They are certainly doing the PLP no favours.

Most of the time “Betty Trump” is ignored but once in a while a hard-nosed, bigoted type reacts. Well, Mr Dill, every society has them and I don't believe that the black Bermudian community is going to be filled with despair because of a couple of old, white guys nobody listens to.



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Published April 02, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 01, 2013 at 8:14 pm)

Writer took the easy route

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