The Week on Twitter: the Refugee Crisis, Kanye West & Catcalling

This week, Twitter said goodbye to horror legend Wes Craven, watched Kanye West announce his presidential candidacy, explained why catcalling was bad, and welcomed refugees even when their governments wouldn’t.

The internet reacts to distressing images of refugee deaths #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik #refugeeswelcome #AylanKurdi

On Wednesday morning, pictures depicting the body of a young boy washed up near the Turkish resort of Bodrum emerged. 3 year old Syrian refugee, Aylan Kurdi, was one of the estimated 12 individuals who drowned trying to reach the Greek island of Kos this week. After his body was discovered by Turkish police, images of Aylan quickly began to circulate around the internet, with many expressing their contempt towards various European governments for allowing this tragedy to happen.

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, over 2,500 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean this summer alone. For months, Twitter has been wrought with human rights groups and generally good people combating the notion that those crossing from war torn countries have the choice to travel, and suggesting that refugees should actually be treated like human beings. The approach became most evident this week, when Aylan’s death sparked discussions concerning the willingness of thousands of EU citizens to offer their homes to refugee families. Many tweets in the #refugeeswelcome tag were aimed towards David Cameron, and the British government in general, condemning them for their shameful reaction to the crisis.

#KiyiyaVuranInsanlik also trended worldwide immediately after the discovery of Aylan’s body. Translating to ‘humanity washed ashore,’ the tag was dominated by those who wished to mourn the death of the 3 year old Syrian boy, and others who took the opportunity to emphasise the true plight of the #refugeecrisis – that these people are being forced to risk their lives because they don’t have any other choice.

#WesCraven dies, aged 67

Sunday August 30th was a dark, dark day for horror lovers, film lovers, and general-good-thing lovers everywhere, as it was the day that Wes Craven died. Probably best known as the creator of Freddie Krueger, and the A Nightmare on Elm street and Scream franchises, Craven is also responsible for the fear-inducing The Hills Have Eyes, The Last House on the Left, lots of other scary things, and some things that aren’t that scary at all, like Music of the Heart and… Music of the Heart.

He was a great man altogether, and lots of people were very sad to hear the news of his death.

#NiallBoylan and #4fm harass some women on live radio

Catcalling isn’t cool. Being catcalled isn’t fun. Shouting at strangers on the street is offensive, and is not a thing that good human beings do. It can make a lot of people very uncomfortable very quickly, and that is why it is wrong. Everybody knows this… Everybody except Niall Boylan.

Priding himself on being “one of Ireland’s most controversial talk show hosts,” 4fm’s Niall Boylan sent one of his reporters out onto the streets of Dublin to catcall some women. He attempted to justify his ‘social experiment’ by claiming that he just wanted to see what they’d do.

After the segment received a lot of deserved backlash from the good people of Twitter, 4fm released a statement where they explained that what they were doing was actually okay, because “100% of the men and women who were approached took it in good humour.” They also said that most of people who were complaining hadn’t even listened to the show, and therefore, had no right to be offended. Oh, and they also said that 4fm would “never give in to political correctness.” How brave of them.

Alright Niall, that’s fine. Sure, it’s not like anyone in the history of the world has ever harassed a woman before. This experiment absolutely had to be carried out for the good of the people. How would I ever sleep at night not knowing whether or not catcalling is offensive?!

Except, it is offensive. And I definitely don’t need somebody like Niall Boylan to tell me otherwise. And neither did lots of other people on the internet.

But good ol’ Niall wasn’t too fazed by the reaction and proceeded to retweet all of the 10 people who agreed with him – conveniently including one woman called Colette, who said “id be chuffed to get a wolfwhistle ffs. id be smiling after it lol.”

Good for you, Colette. I’m so glad that you’re so privileged to have never felt unsafe or threatened by a stranger pursuing you on the street. You’re a beacon of hope for women everywhere. Thank you for sharing your story. Let the feminist revolution commence.

#KanyeWest announces presidential candidacy #Kanye2020 #YesWeKan

This week, the VMAs were on. I didn’t watch it, but it turns out that I didn’t have to because Twitter talked about it for the whole week anyway. Lots of things happened, including Justin Bieber crying, Taylor Swift being nominated for lots of things, and Nicki Minaj asking Miley Cyrus what was good.

But what everyone seemed to talk about most was Kanye’s 13 minute acceptance speech for the Video Vanguard Award. Although he made some fairly decent points about award shows, fame, and MTV in general, Twitter basically disintegrated when he finished his speech by saying he was going to run for president in 2020.

Some people were shocked, some were delighted, and others were simply inspired.


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