The argument has been sparked over a hateful, ignorant and a completely sick post by a guy who used to call himself A Blessing in Tragedy on UAE blogs (see my friend BuJ's rundown on him). This pleasant person was mocking the victims of the plane that had recently crashed on a flight from Dubai to Manglore in India. The post had garnered a very heated and passionate responses. I don't know of any sane individual who'd agree with the sentiment raised in the hateful post. But nonetheless, there seemed to be some sort of a bitter reaction as a result. Due, I believe, in part, to the fact that the guy calls his blog Al-Emarati. And, unfortunately, it's become necessary to try to explain to uninitiated people that this sentiment isn't at all representative of the mainstream UAE nationals.
Now the question is: what to do with this kind of venom?
1-Ignore the douche.
2-Try to reason/argue with the douche.
3- Block/ban the douche.
The overall consensus was to ignore. People are entitled to voice their idiotic opinions. Censorship is a slippery slope..etc...etc...
But wait a minute, are people really ignoring his post? (I honestly find it hilarious that our Alexander McNabb would advise that best approach is to ignore while addressing the subject on national radio (sorry Alex, couldn't resist ;) ).. It's not being ignored by any means. It was, and will still be for a while, generating comments and reactions of all kinds. That's trolling 101 folks, provoke people to react. Stimulate angry responses. Disseminate hate and then set back and laugh while everyone else is fuming and hurling insults. Soon you're going to find the kind of mislead comments that portrays this as Expats vs. Locals slighting match. Soon you're going to find people who, for the lack of alternative venues, would formulate part of their impressions of the UAE community based on this blog (which is, again, usefully called Al Emarati).
I'm all for freedom of speech. I envy Americans for their first amendment. I believe that your ability as a human being to express yourself is an inalienable right that should be protected by all means. But we don't have that provision in the UAE. And it'd be a waste of time and energy to start granting bigots that right. For the sake of better community relations, more purposeful and productive online communications, and general good old peace of mind, voice of hate and ignorance should be shut down.