Published 06.02.21, 03:59 AM
US Vice-President Kamala Harris’s niece Meenakshi Ashley Harris has highlighted the misogynist online trolling that Indian ultra-nationalists have directed at international celebrities who have spoken out against the government’s crackdown on the protesting farmers.
“Another day another mob of angry misogynists in my mentions,” the American lawyer and author, better known as Meena Harris, has tweeted after facing abusive and lewd comments from Indian Right-wing trolls.
“Do men on the Internet get some sort of alert when women talk about something funny a kid said so they can rush in to dispute it? It’s so pathetic and weird, my dude.”
Harris had this week joined several other globally renowned personalities in tweeting about the Internet shutdown and the fortress of barricades and spikes put up around Delhi to thwart the agitating peasants.
Among these celebrities were the singer Rihanna, teenaged green activist Greta Thunberg, comedian Amanda Cerny, model and media personality Mia Khalifa and US sports stars Kyle Kuzma, Juju Smith Schuster and Baron Davis.
In connection with the crackdown on the farmers, Harris had cited the storming of Capitol Hill last month by former US President Donald Trump’s supporters, seeing in both a Right-wing attack on democratic traditions.
A barrage of criticism from pro-government Indian netizens followed, which included a comparison between the Capitol Hill insurrection and the breach of the Red Fort by protesting farmers, apart from the abuse.
On Thursday, Harris tweeted: “I still #StandWithFarmers and support their peaceful protest. No amount of hate, threats or violations of human rights will ever change that. #FarmersProtest.”
She also shared images of portraits of herself, Rihanna, Khalifa and Thunberg being burned in Delhi by the United Hindu Front, a Right-wing vigilante group.
Apart from this, Harris has re-tweeted messages of support for her from poet Rupi Kaur, musician Jaswinder Bains or Jazzy B, actor Taapsee Pannu and student leader Aishe Ghosh.
She has also shared the accounts of other women, such as journalist Rana Ayyub, who have faced similar misogynistic trolling.
While all the women who spoke out about the farmers’ protest faced vicious trolling, Harris has been the most vocal about it, perhaps in a nod to her grandmother Shyamala Gopalan Harris’s oft quoted insight: “A culture that worships goddesses produces strong women.”
On Tuesday, Harris had re-tweeted Rihanna’s post that had asked “Why aren’t we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest,” and shared a report on the Internet shutdown around the capital.
The following day she had shared a video of Democratic Party lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s account of what she had faced during the storming of Capitol Hill.
She had then said in several tweets: “It’s no coincidence that the world’s oldest democracy was attacked not even a month ago, and as we speak, the most populous democracy is under assault. This is related. We all should be outraged by India’s Internet shutdowns and paramilitary violence against farmer protesters.
“Militant nationalism is just as potent a force in US politics as it is in India or anyplace else. It can only be stopped if people wake up to the reality that fascist dictators aren’t going anywhere. Not unless: 1) we organise and 2) There are consequences for the capitol attack.”
Original posted at www.telegraphindia.com