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Dangers of Hate Statements in Taraba and How to Tackle Them

There have been lotHates of hate statements on social media lately since Taraba State governorship case started from Nov. 7th, 2015 and was finally settled by the Supreme Court on 11th Feb. 2016.

Some Hate Statements By Taraba Social Media Users

  • “Dear people of Taraba state we should not forget what Allah who made Danbaba what he become now is not sleeping, therefore He is the one who will know what to do to Darius and master. We should keep praying.”
  • Thunder fire you in place of DDI for nursing evil against him.
  • Na your father Darius go rest in peace not APC and give us time you will see what will happen.
  • God should punish your generation idiot.
  • Here in the courtroom, I have not seen virus and his deputy wooo!
  •   Continuous hate speeches will bring severe division in Taraba State.

The above hate statements are seriously uncalled for.

Hatred is simply an intense dislike, or ill-will. It can be directed against individuals, groups, entities, objects, behaviors or ideas. It is often associated with feelings of anger, disgust and a disposition towards hostility.

Hate speech offends, threatens or insults groups based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits.

Hate speech include gestures or conducts, writing or display, aimed at attacking the reputation of a person or group of people and most forms of hate speech  indirectly promote violence which should be classified as forms of dangerous speech.

Hate speech is dangerous because words have power and can influence others to act. Hate speech promotes division and intolerance; it harms and marginalizes the vulnerable groups it targets.

Toxic emotions like hatred can lead to serious health problems.

Healthwise, hatred can affect the mind, body and soul, body’s organs and natural processes and breeding even more negative emotions. While intense hatred can lead to heart disease, prolonged hatred can lead to  anxiety, high blood pressure, headaches, stress and poor circulation.

“Hate is often considered to be an evil passion that should, in a better world, be tamed, controlled and eradicated”.  Prof. Semir Zeki of University College London.

According to him, part of the brain, putamen and the insula, normally swells when one sees a picture of, or hears about the hated person.

Why should we stress organs of the brain with hatred emotions?

Hate speech is a precursor to violence.

Different countries have different legal views on hate speech and there is inconsistency of the hate speech laws in different countries:

How Some Countries Handle Hate Statements

  1. Britain bans abusive, insulting, and threatening speech.
  2. Denmark and Canada ban speech that is insulting and degrading.
  3. India and Israel ban speech that hurts religious feelings and incites racial and religious hatred.
  4. In Holland, it is a criminal offense to deliberately insult a particular group.
  5. Australia prohibits speech that offends, insults, humiliates, or intimidates individuals or groups.
  6. Germany bans speech that violates the dignity of, or maliciously degrades or defames, a group.  In each case, the law defines hate speech in a different way.

What Hate Statements Caused in the Past

Rwandan and Kenyan Cases

Rwanda and Kenya are both countries that have experienced considerable violence in the past two decades. They are useful case studies to discern when and how hate speech becomes dangerous speech.  

The inflammatory role of the Radio station, Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (Radio RTLM) in the Rwandan genocide has been widely documented, and offers a definitive example of dangerous speech.

The radio encouraged people to participate because it said ‘the enemy is the Tutsi,’” remarked one genocide survivor. “If the radio had not declared things, people would not have gone into the attacks.” The deaths of forty-five thousand Tutsis, can be attributed to violent acts incited by Radio RTLM.

This statistic indicates the power of dangerous speech to translate words into actions, the consequences of which can be fatal for those living in violent environments.

The Netherlands
In The Netherlands, a quite controversial debate went on in 2011. Stated in a BBC news article, far-right politician Geert Wilders, who described Islam as “fascist”, was acquitted of inciting hatred against Muslims. According to the judge, Wilders’ comments on comparing the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf were “acceptable within the context of public debate.”

Although the speeches given by this political figure was said to have caused increasing hatred and violence towards the Islamic society in the Netherlands. Debate allows people to express how they feel about specific things but can also be harmful to certain groups as it allows expressing hate towards a social group.

Hate Statements Can Cause Suicide
Hate speech could also hurt a person or a group of people to the point that they commit suicide. Take the case of eleven-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, who killed himself after enduring months of anti-gay bullying at his school in Springfield, Massachusetts. Should that form of hate speech be punished?

Free speech is exercised largely by the privileged at the expense of the unprivileged who do not have a level ground on which to respond. Having no hate speech laws is unjust. A society that allows hate speech to go unpunished is one that tolerates discrimination and invites violence.

What the Koran Teaches About Hate Statements.

If we look at the character of the Prophet (peace be upon him) we can see that he was always forgiving and never showed enmity (nor hate) to anyone except those who waged war against him.

There was an old lady who used to throw rubbish in his way every day, on one occasion she did not throw rubbish in the street, so he decided to go and see what was the matter. She was ill in bed, to her amazement, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came to see her and found out about her ill health. She accepted Islam.

“Be quick in the forgiveness from your Lord, and pardon (all) men – for Allah loves those who do good.” [Surat Ale Imran; 3:133-134].

What the Bible Teaches About Hate Statements

“But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:22).

Hatred is a poison that destroys us from within, producing bitterness that eats away at our hearts and minds.

It  also destroys the personal witness of a Christian because it removes him from fellowship with the Lord and other believers.

Dangers of Hate Speech, Comments and Statements

Hate statements, speech or comments may lead to any of the following;

  1. Widespread panic, depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide in severe cases.
  2. Harm of people and unrest in the society.
  3. Words have power and can influence others to act.
  4. Division and intolerance.
  5. Harms and marginalizes the vulnerable groups it targets.
  6. Include but not limited to speech that advocates, threatens, or encourages violent acts.
  7. Extends also to expressions that foster a climate of prejudice and intolerance on the assumption that this may fuel targeted discrimination, hostility and violent attacks.

How to Tackle Hate Speech, Comments and Statements Online

  1. Social media administrators should identify and eliminate hate speech on their pages and groups.
  2. States and/or organizations should pass laws to restrict and prevent hate speech.
  3. Owners and regulators of websites should create a strong “TERMS AND CONDITIONS” to include restrictions on hate speech, comments and statements.
  4. Any comment that does not have real names (ANONYMOUS) and is perceived to be inciting should not be published by online administrators.
  5. Online administrators should make it possible for comments to be approved before publishing so as to checkmate hate speeches.

Tarabans let’s avoid making hate comments.

Tarabans let’s avoid posting hate statements.

Tarabans let’s avoid hate speeches.

Hatred is a deadly disease. Desist from hate speeches, hate comments and hate statements.

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