My Twitter highlights of 2015
In the hours after the Charlie Hebdo terror attack in January, the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie spread around the world with incredible speed. It seemed a perfect way to convey solidarity with the slain cartoonists. They were household names in France and they died for their ideas: namely, the right to caricature and satire.
I do not condone the killings in Paris but I will never support racists and bigots #JeNeSuisPasCharlie— Hassan Malik (@beardmode85) January 20, 2015
Insulting others' beliefs isn't called freedom of speech!!... #JeNeSuisPasCharlie— Dora Anwar ♡ (@dora_egy) January 19, 2015
The whole episode shows that sadly, one hashtag can be overly simplistic when fraught issues like freedom of speech are at play.
Another notable hashtag appeared in July, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a Palestinian refugee girl cry during a televised debate on immigration. Merkel, seeing the 14-year-old was upset, got up and went over to “stroke” her on the back to comfort her. The hashtag #Merkelstreichelt, meaning “Merkel strokes”, was born.
As the video of the encounter shows, Merkel’s reaction to the girl’s tears was somewhat off the mark. “But you did that really well”, she opined at first, referring to the girl’s appearance on the debate. Quick as a flash, the moderator hit back at Merkel: “I don't think, Mrs Chancellor, that it’s about doing really well, but rather that this is a very stressful situation”.
The hashtag was mainly used by Merkel’s critics to mock her.
This one is a toss-up between US President Barack Obama and US whistleblower Edward Snowden. Obama joined Twitter in May, Snowden in September. Both have posted regularly since.
Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.— President Obama (@POTUS) May 18, 2015
Can you hear me now?— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 29, 2015
Best satirical accounts
The handle @manwhohasitall appeared in October and parodies the patronising advice given to women today about how to “have it all”. It doles out “helpful” advice to men as if they were in women’s shoes – a refreshing change of perspective.
To all men with an opinion. Don't be AFRAID to speak up! It's OKAY to be a man and have an opinion. Some women actually find it attractive— manwhohasitall (@manwhohasitall) October 16, 2015
Frazzled working dad? If you always end up with dull-looking skin, it might be a sign that you're low on broccoli and/or waternuts.— manwhohasitall (@manwhohasitall) December 18, 2015
TODAY'S FACT: Not every father wants to go part-time. Some choose to work full-time and that's absolutely okay.— manwhohasitall (@manwhohasitall) December 4, 2015
Another amusing satirical account this year, despite the tragic circumstances behind it, was @LogeurDuDaesh. This refers to Jawad Bendaoud, the man who found an apartment for some of the terrorists behind the November 13th Paris attacks which killed 130 people. Five days after the carnage, elite French police stormed the apartment in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. During the police raid, Bendaoud appeared on French TV channel BFM, saying he had no idea that the people he had put up were terrorists. “I was asked to do a favour, I did a favour”, he pleaded.
The tweets feature the 29-year-old “slumlord” defending himself in this naïve manner.
"Effectivement, j'ai entendu le mot grenade mais j'ai d'abord pensé à ce délicieux fruit exotique" pic.twitter.com/98PR6iHpij— LOGEUR DU DAESH (@LogeurDuDaesh) November 18, 2015
"Quand ils m'ont parlé de Syrie moi jpensais que c'était le truc pour iPhone là" pic.twitter.com/ep8gi0JHCj— LOGEUR DU DAESH (@LogeurDuDaesh) November 19, 2015
Back in the real world, Bendaoud’s defence has fallen apart - according to French media reports, phone records show he received a call from a Belgian number linked to the terrorists prior to November 13th - and he has now been placed under formal investigation. He has since shifted his line of defence to saying “I suspected [something fishy was up] but I wanted the money”.
It’s difficult to choose a single tweet from the whole year, but one in particular did stand out recently. After US presidential hopeful Donald Trump announced that he wanted to temporarily bar all Muslims from entering the United States, Rick Kriseman, the mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, had a great comeback.
I am hereby barring Donald Trump from entering St. Petersburg until we fully understand the dangerous threat posed by all Trumps.— Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) December 8, 2015
Thumbnail photo © Pixabay