Weeds and flames

28. maijs, 2008

Living in a post-communist country, one gets used to hate speech on the Internet, especially when it comes to issues that were totally taboo in the Soviet times. Anyone professing an unpopular view on sensitive topics encounters hate speech on Latvian Internet sites and probably comes to terms with it, just as one can get used to traffic jams and bad weather. There is one type of hate speech, however, that should not be taken as a minor nuisance - and that is incitement to violence.

Last night, one of the local news portals published my article arguing that the March for Equality (known outside Latvia as the Riga Pride) is a perfectly legitimate political action. Gliding over the hostile comments attached this morning to the article, I noticed one that caught my eye. It compared gays and lesbians to harmful weeds that should be done away with – preferably burned.

Needless to say, I notified the website moderator about this comment, using the option provided by the portal. Three hours later, the comment is still there. I wonder if my complaint was rejected because the comment itself was found innocent.

This brings me to the same conclusion to which another Latvian blogger came today: love for hate speech seems to become a national virtue.

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