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By Jason Michael

DefiAye is in hospital today. She has been the victim of homelessness and ‘Austerity Britain.’ She has always known who was to blame, but the online BritNat trolls who hounded her are only now showing us how low they can go.

DefiAye, a brilliant young artist and a star of the independence movement, posted on Twitter yesterday: “I’m so sorry. I had to do it. I’m being accused of benefit fraud. I can’t live in this world as it is.” Within the hour her friend Simone called the Police. She was discovered at her home and rushed to hospital, where she is now recovering in intensive care. Those who know DefiAye and follow her on social media will know she has only recently gotten out of homelessness and into a house of her own, and that, as a sufferer of a chronic and debilitating illness, she was recently summoned for a medical review that threatened to cut off what few benefits she had coming in.

She was under considerable stress and suffering from severe anxiety and depression. Her story is far from unique in Scotland or anywhere else currently subject to Westminster austerity. Her story is familiar in every village, town, and city in the United Kingdom. DefiAye knew this and she knew who was to blame. Her illness and the treatment she and her fellow sufferers received at the hands of the British government played a large part in her pro-independence activism. Her artwork was a hallmark of the 2014 referendum and has appeared in The National and all over Scotland’s social media. Everyone knows her work. Everyone loves her… well, almost everyone.

When she went on Twitter to cry for help early yesterday afternoon she said she was being accused of benefit fraud. That accusation was being made against her for a while by a number of social media users who had formed something of a hunting pack in their efforts to harass and bully her. In conversation with her I and a few others were made aware of the toll this harassment was taking on her. Whenever she blocked them they would respawn as new accounts and continue their game. Yesterday, it seems, it all became too much.

Once it was known she had been taken to hospital and that she was in a serious condition notices were posted by her friends on Twitter and Facebook. The shock and pain in the responses was palpable. Over the course of the day MSPs and MPs came onto the threads to share their well-wishes. Others came too. Other less welcome, anonymous unionist trolls – the sort we never hear about in the press – to gloat at their handiwork.

“Militant Mole,” an odious character hiding behind the anonymity of the internet, posted an image of a parcel delivery, captioned: “Here’s that attention you ordered.” He posted this at half past seven in the evening when it was already clear DefiAye was fighting for her life. Soon other rodents dropped by, this time to torment, threaten, and intimidate those who were sharing news and wishing their friend well. This is Scottish unionism at its worst, the underbelly of extreme British nationalism – with all its hate and bile – that is forever given a clean bill of health by the media that emboldens and encourages it. No words can express how deeply repulsive this behaviour is.

After explaining to this person that I really didn’t have the inclination to give him the time of day one of his buddies – “William Boyne” – posted a picture of a house to me. No words, just a house. It was a familiar house. It was a house on the street where my parents live, right where I grew up. It might have been a coincidence, but the police officer I spent the next half on the phone to agreed with me – unlikely. Quite possibly these people either know me or know people who know me and where I come from. When you discover a burning cross in your yard in the night-time the message is clear. It’s as subtle a threat as a noose swinging over a branch.

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When threats like this are made against you, especially from troll accounts with names like “William [of Orange and the Battle of the] Boyne,” the implication is clear. These people are from a loyalist institution – or claim to be – that is on record promising violence and civil war in the event of Scottish independence. These are people with connections to paramilitary murder squads in the north of Ireland. This is Scottish unionism. It may not be the “unionism” of Ruth Davidson or Anas Sarwar, but this is the sharp edge that gives their suited and booted rhetoric and spin real cutting power. Without this blood-soaked and angry unionism there is no Ruth or Anas. This is Scottish unionism.

Was this the sort of abuse DefiAye had been subjected to? How often does this go on? I don’t know. This is the first time anything like this has happened to me, but it took a person using an account I have never before seen or interacted with less than a minute to produce a photograph intended to terrify me; to have me fearful over the safety of my loved ones. Will my mother be the next Jo Cox? What else is this picture to make me think, if not that? But less than one minute?! Who has the ability to look at a Twitter account and find a home address in under a minute? I can think of only one group capable of this, and that is the same group found to have been colluding with loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland – the British government.

How much of this must we take? How much of this did my friend DefiAye have to take before she ended up where she is today? How widespread is this, and how many people has this been happening to? Perhaps it is time we started working on a national database to help us get a better idea of what is going on. Whoever these people are, they must be brought to justice. We have to make sure they are unmasked and shown to the world for who and what they are.

Right now, however, my thoughts and the thoughts of a great many other people in this country are on one remarkable young woman. She is seriously sick in hospital, but I have persuaded myself she is going to be fine. I can’t cope with the thought of the alternative. My heart was lifted last night when I saw the hashtag #UnicornsForBrave – “Brave” being her profile name – run over my timeline. In spite of the hate of a bitter and ugly few, good people all over Scotland are showing their love for one of our favourite independentistas. No one knows it outside of here because the BBC won’t tell anyone, but the pro-independence community in Scotland is magical. There might as well be unicorns.

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This is uniform behaviour from the right-wing.


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34 thoughts on “Trolling Wee Brave: Scottish Unionism at its Lowest

  1. Take care, Sweetie. Hope you feel better soon. Please remember you have many friends even if you don’t know us & we love you & your talent. You help to make the world a better place. ♡♡♡

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think with the new laws that Westminster have brought into effect these people cannot hide behind silly names anymore.
    Personally I would not be surprised if it comes out that the worst offenders are government employees, employed with the specific task of taking down independence supporters. Let’s face it Westminster cannot survive without Scotlands wealth.
    There is only one party that can take us to independence. Support the SNP completely until we get it. Reguardless of if you disagree with the party or not

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I really, really hope that Brave pulls through. A few months ago, whilst she was going through the housing crisis, I had to ask for a mutual Twitter friend to help Brave as a tweet she posted had me worried about her. That was when her MSP got involved. #UnicornsForBrave

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry you were also targeted. Think we need to report every single count of threatening behaviour. I saw that message and reacted immediately. Hoping and praying that brave pulls through as we often interact on Twitter. Raging that this could happen. I spoke to Simone last night and offered help.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Here’s one name and he isn’t a unionist. (Note, didn’t put a capital “u”). winston churchill. He was the one who sent the “Black and tans”, a violent group of thugs, to quench national Irish independence. Not many people know this. He is covered in the sunny yellow glow of a british treasure. We are covered in unionists in the North of my country and my grandparents left Derry when their kids were pelted with muck by the British army for being Catholics. My sincere wishes to you both for peace and healing and Alba & Eireann go brath!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Prayers and love to you DeFiAye,
    You are making a MASSIVE differance,
    As is messured by the HATE of the unionists that Trolled you.
    You are part of a large -and thanks to people like you-growing belief in our Nation.
    I salute and respect you
    Get well soon.
    Round two is comeing
    X x x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As a family who’s been on the receiving end of this ‘tender’ treatment from Scottish unionism, we wish both you and DefiAye peace. There is simply something missing inside some people, and they are deserving of our pity.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Have spent last 10 mins bawling my eyes out. Very moving, depressing ,uplifting and hopefully educational for the obnoxious rancid unionist trolls & their rancid parliamentarians. My thoughts are with or wee friend.X

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Very moving, we can’t shy away from tackling these thugs. For the sake of Defiaye and anyone else on their target list. We formed a community of hope for Independence, we can form an alliance to combat cowardly scum.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I so hope Defiaye will have a speedy recovery. You are right we cannot allow these dangerous unionist to stop us. we are not the evil movement we are a peaceful movement that just want our freedom. we will get it and we won’t let ourselves be bullied.

    Like

  11. Respect. Your mother does not have anything to worry about, she could kick the arse of the vast majority of these cowards. So what excuses did the british police give to not following up these crimes? We’re all thinking of you ‘Brave’, best wishes.

    Like

  12. My heart goes out to brave we have followed each other for years, the anger I feel currently is overwhelming as a person who has had to call in the police on one individual on Twitterseveral times because of lies he has told about me and my family
    , it has impacted on me, I now never go out even to the local shop in my village and my behaviour is impacting on my relationship with my children and partner, all because I believe in Scottish independence, we constantly hear of cybernat abuse while our so called MSM ignore the real abuse

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Time to take the Scottish unionists down. Weeble wobble will claim this is not what her party stands for but her recent decision to let 2 msps back into the party and her open mouth rhetoric says a lot more. We know where we will find these trolls. The majority at ibrox

    Like

  14. I do wish and hope for Brave to recover. I watched the unfolding horror of it all and felt useless. I decided not to interact on twitter yesterday because my anger and frustration was becoming overwhelming.
    After reading this, I’ve realised that these bullies and cowards cannot beat us as we are stronger and more united than ever. They will continue to pick on the most vulnerable…it’s how they get their kicks, how the establishment has always fought, underhand and cowardly, but we need to watch out for each other as much as possible.
    #UnicornsForBrave

    Liked by 1 person

  15. How sad for this young lassie that there are people out there who can only get their kicks from kicking those less fortunate than themselves,old proverb, what goes around comes around and bites you on the arse,I hope the wee lassie makes a full and fruitful recovery,bless her❤

    Like

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