No place for hate speech in Longford

Alan Walsh


Alan Walsh



Longford's warmth and all embracing atmosphere flies in the face of recent derogatory comments made by far right representatives on social media

The dignity and magnanimity of Aram Usefiyan and his wife Miriam in the Organic shop in Longford town and of those that attended the ‘Meet and Greet’ diversity rally on Saturday last in Market Square is to be commended.

Longford is a place that promotes equality and facilitates social inclusion for all and as Tena Keown, organiser of the rally which was attended by one hundred people, pointed out, “This is about positivity and to show the diversity that is here in Longford. We look after you and you look after us”.

The posting of a photograph, featuring thirty-one pupils from a local primary school, without permission of the school or the parents of the children, on social media platforms, with the accompanying words ‘Irish people are quickly becoming an ethnic minority in many towns’ incited much unwanted and negative online commentary.

Reacting to being questioned during a YouTube live streaming, Aram said of his interviewer, ““I don’t blame her, because it happens, even in my home country you find people like that. She has (the) right to say what she likes, because everyone is different. The public can decide if she is right or not.”

Well social networking giants made their decision.

Admittedly, it came following a flurry of representations from a variety of sources, as the original post featuring the photograph was removed by Twitter. They cited violation of their rules against posting private media of an individual from a country with a recognised right to privacy law.

Facebook also removed it as they deemed the post went against their community standards on hate speech.

Unfortunately, they merely shut the stable door after the horse had well and truly bolted as the post had gone viral, even gaining considerable traction among white supremacists in the United States.

The removal of the post speaks for itself and we’ll conclude with Aram’s words, “We know how people in Ireland are and how nice the people are here. That is why we are living here. Here it is peaceful, people are friendly and we are safe.”