(Not to be republished without prior consent)
When I decided a few years back that I was going to start blogging I was acutely aware of several things, firstly that I, because of my blogs would be subject to scrutiny, and secondly that I would need to ensure that what I published was corroborated and substantiated with reliable sources at every opportunity. This is something I have strived to do with every post, and something I will continue to do.
I am, as a friend would say, no shrinking violet, capable of articulating and debating my view point and as with anyone who publishes a blog or any form of communication I stand to be challenged on what I put out for public consumption. That said being challenged over a position and being attacked by someone online are two completely different things.
For a few months now I have been subjected to allegation and innuendo through social media, the person leading this charge has made a range of accusations both publicly and in private message. The interesting thing is that this ‘man’ has at no time attempted to speak to me directly. No instead this ‘man’ deleted and blocked me from his facebook before launching his campaign. Now I could have rationalised that this behaviour is misogynistic, and potentially that this person may be emotionally unwell but I think that this would be trying to provide some element of justification for his behaviours when in truth whilst we have rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of thought and conscience there is no justification for what is considered cyber-harassment.
This cyber-harassment took several forms, it involved contacting different friends of mine through private message and making allegations against me. Well until a recent escalation when he started to name me on public threads on social media in a conversation about 'shit stirrers'. Friends of mine this ‘man’ has been in contact with have been kind enough to provide me with screen shots of the messages. Not only that, when they told this ‘man’ they would be passing these to me he was indifferent to this.
When discussing this matter with people one question that has been asked of me is why as this has been going on for some time have I waited until now to address it? There are two reasons for this:
Firstly this began a few months ago. During this my father was critically ill and my time was spent supporting my mother and visiting him in hospital in Belfast, so needless to say this person was not at the top of my priority list.
Secondly, I wanted to try and address this matter directly with the person responsible. I firmly believe that if you have an issue with someone, or they have an issue with you then both parties should have the strength of their convictions to sit down and discuss whatever the problem is. They may agree, they may agree to disagree or they may not move anyway forward but at least it provides both sides with the opportunity to have their say. Although I must say that when you challenge people who make unsubstantiated allegations to sit down face to face and discuss them with you they generally can’t stand over the venomous bile they have been spouting and will refuse to meet you. However, I thought I would try to speak to this person and try and resolve this before it escalated.
Through a mutual friend, I sent an email to Derry man Thomas ‘Dixie’ Elliot requesting to meet him to challenge him as to why he was continuously attacking me and attempting to blacken my name. Among other things Dixie has accused me of ‘shit stirring’. I have asked him to explain and have included the caveat who, what, when and where? Adding “Four simple words, so your response should be easy enough to compose. And before you do this do bear in mind that 'I think', 'I believe', 'I was told by x' person does not constitute proof.”
Dixie also stated that I or my shit stirring was to be exposed, one week on from his receiving my letter I await Dixie’s expose. Furthermore, I also offered Dixie the opportunity to post his response unedited on this blog. To date Dixie has not taken me up on my offer, has not published a response elsewhere or responded to my letter.
Dixie has also accused me of playing people like a fiddle, now I’m not musically inclined, but as to who I was playing like a fiddle and when was also not substantiated. I must admit at this point I thought Jesus this ejit thinks I’m some sort of modern day Mata Hari!
In the midst of his ramblings Dixie made the accusation of an Mi5 smear against the Bloody Sunday March for Justice and the organisers. When challenged by a friend he named me in a private message as being responsible for this. Despite this he has refused to explain or substantiate this allegation despite it being very serious and dangerous in nature.
|One week before the 40th |
Dixie maybe isn’t aware of this but in 2012 a lot of the organising for 40th anniversary Bloody Sunday March took place in my house, indeed it is a matter of record that Kate Nash actually thanked me from the platform on that day. Also, anyone who knows me will be aware that I have been very supportive of the March for Justice, a cursory check on my facebook will show that each year I promote the march and even earlier this week I published a video that called on people to attend this year’s march.
|Following a meeting in Stormont|
Dixie, considering some of the support I have outlined above, for you to attempt to blacken my name and character by suggesting that I would in any way attack the Bloody Sunday March for Justice or the organisers is nothing short of contemptible. And I would like you to explain your actions, it’s bad enough that the British state supported by agencies such as Mi5 use closed material proceedings against people here giving them no opportunity to defend themselves, but for a former republican prisoner and one who has spoken out against the actions of the state to do something similar just beggars belief.
Despite this Dixie, I will once again extend the offer to meet with you to discuss your allegations oh and feel free to bring someone with you. I am also once again extending the offer for you to respond using my blog, that said I do expect you to substantiate your claims. And if I have done something wrong then I will say I’m wrong and apologise regardless of how you choose to conduct yourself.
There are so many issues needing addressed in our city and despite our different political perspectives I believe our energies and talents should be used more positively and productively. I do not intend to enter some protracted ‘he said, she said’ nonsense. The evidence we either can or cannot produce should validate our positions.
Dixie, I do hope to hear from you but I can assure you that I for one will not be subject to the closed kangaroo court of Dixie.