Small people,cyberbullying and the moral compass

Right and wrong, the irony of life

Putin in an astronaut suit
Putin in an astronaut suit

Twitter can kill you. Yes it can. Facebook can make mincemeat of you. Yes it can. The Internet is baaad.


 The email is from an acquaintance. A communication scientist. Normally, I would burst into laughter. But this one is not funny. It has a link to the latest cyberbullying victim. An Australian starlet.Dead in her apartment. Bullied into suicide by social media.I dial her number. She picks it up before it rings.


“I told you!” she hisses into the phone.

I try to think of all the good things that the  internet has made possible.  

“The Arab/North African revolution? The Ukranian revolution” She doesn’t say anything.

“The Obama presidency?”  That one makes her laugh.

 “Oh come on!” I stare at the phone.

“You know what she posted last on Twitter?”  She asks scrolling through her smartphone.

The irony of someone hating the internet and browsing the internet isn’t lost on me.

“You know I’m right.” She says simply in her semi-righteous voice. You are neurotic, I think to myself but I don’t say it aloud. We’ve had this discussion before. A thousand and one times. Not once have I come close to winning.


Does everything have to be so complicated? Do we always have to put our moral glasses on?  I sit down and hear myself sighing.  A deep sigh. The little one looks up. He moves closer and pats my arm. The girl seated at the corner looks on.  The half-smile on her face is threatening to turn into a big fat laugh. She turns to me and is about to say something but the moderator cuts her short.

"The games” he starts.

“The Putin games” he corrects himself.

Putin games. I repeat to myself.  It is not a compliment. That one I know.   For the past weeks, I heard it so often that I started thinking that the Germans had added yet another word to their already colorful vocabulary. Putinspiele.


He appears on the screen. His small frame is clad in a red brittle jacket. The kind that reminds one of bullets.On his side is one of his sidekicks.

Medvedev, I think. Something about Putin makes everyone around him appear meek. Like breathing normally might land a bullet right in the middle of your forehead, there between your eyes.


The camera zooms back to the moderator but my mind is firmly on Putin. The contradictions surrounding this man.   Some people say he is a mean spirited, merciless, brutal dictator; the kind of a guy your dead ancestors would run away from.

And then there is Edward Snowden.  Coming all the way from the island of peace, the country with the unlimited possibilities, the home of justice and democracy, the country ruled by a Nobel peace laureate right into Putin’s deadly  den. That one has me confused.


I turn back to the moderator.  He is saying something about the end of the games. I watch him for a moment.  These games have taught me quite bit.  For example, how logical, fair and consistent I am. Especially in ice hockey.  When the Americans  played against Canada, I was firmly rooting for Canada.  Super powers shouldn’t win. When Canada played against Sweden, I was rooting for Sweden. Small countries deserve to win. When the Finnish played, I rooted for them. Small, cold countries with high suicide rates especially deserve to win.


The Sochi Olympics were good. Hell, they were damn good. Never mind that we only got to see what Putin wanted us to see. Never mind that so many workers worked in despicable conditions and went without pay in the world's most expensive winter Olympics. Never mind that some people are out freezing in the Russian cold thanks to the big Olympics complex.  Never mind that upto my twentieth birthday, I had never seen snow.

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Comments: 2
  • #1

    Kris (Wednesday, 05 March 2014 12:03)

    Nice piece. That Putin *sigh*

  • #2

    CAJ (Thursday, 06 March 2014 12:43)

    Hi Kris,
    Thanks for stopping by. I also don't know what to think of Putin. Let's see what will happen next with him and Ukraine.