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Op-Ed: ‘Armed rebellion’ and ‘civil war’ calls get massively unimpressed response on Twitter

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Local law enforcement officers are seen in front of the home of former President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on August 9, 2022

Local law enforcement officers are seen in front of the home of former President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on August 9, 2022 – Copyright AFP/File Aleksey Filippov

Social media does turn out to be good for something, after all. Much raging online about Trump’s Mar-A-Lago raid isn’t going over. Maybe the endless tantrums are getting a bit stale. A virtual tide of Twitter responses isn’t buying it on any level.

One Tweet pointed out Trump said “they raided my home” before it was actually raided. Trump lawyers, meanwhile, said he wasn’t notified…? Generally speaking,  warrants are not carried out on an RSVP basis. You don’t ask the crack house when would be a good time to call, for example.

You may (or may not) also be interested to know that “Trump civil war” is now an auto search cue. The headlines for that search on Google News are really something else. The unimpressed response isn’t getting any coverage, hence this article. The picture is very different.

The adult news sticks to the point – Violation of the Espionage Act, Presidential Records Act; you know, law. Much of this media, understandably, focuses on “what next?”.

“Other” news is all about QAnon-like conspiracies. (If you’ve got no facts, fiction is your only real option.) Trump’s playing along with it as usual. Trump is seen doing a Mussolini salute, an actual Fascist fist, in various styles on multiple occasions. It looks more like a trained move. He wasn’t doing that previously, and he’s not good at it. Presumably, it means “defiance”, but it looks awkward and rehearsed.

Of course, the image has a role in anything to do with Trump. Trump is pumping the pity buttons in public. The GOP and MAGA are pushing the extreme rhetoric. As a marketing exercise, it’s selling sand to people living in deserts. The problem is that it doesn’t sell to anyone else.

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These thunderous noises also don’t quite gel with the fact that Trump lawyers, who requested documents regarding the warrant, haven’t yet agreed to make them public. As mixed messages go, it’s about what you’d expect from anything associated with Trump. Is there a problem with making them public? Could be.

Rebellion against what?

There’s a bit of a practical issue with “Trump civil war”, too. Any such thing would be total coast-to-coast carnage. Sandy Hooks and Uvaldes all round, no doubt. Does America, already so happily living among the gangs and mass shootings, really want a civil war?

Maybe not?

You’ll need to answer that question. …Because over half the country didn’t vote for that and they might get really ticked off about it.



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Ahead of World Cup, influencer ‘Mr Q’ lifts veil on Qatar

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Khalifa Al Haroon, known to his followers as Mr Q, has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil on World Cup host Qatar

Khalifa Al Haroon, known to his followers as Mr Q, has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil on World Cup host Qatar – Copyright AFP KARIM JAAFAR

Raphaelle Peltier

At a time when prickly questions are being asked about Qatar and its hosting of the World Cup, Khalifa Al Haroon offers a smile, a sigh and a shrug as he seeks to explain its mysteries.

Known to his growing number of followers as Mr Q, the 38-year-old has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil over the tiny but mega-rich Gulf state that describes itself as a “conservative” Islamic country.

The first World Cup in an Arab nation has put a spotlight on Qatar’s treatment of foreign workers, gender rights and even the use of air conditioning in stadiums.

Haroon’s cheerful #QTip videos broach everything from saying “Hello” in Arabic to the right way for men to wear the flowing ghutra headdress. There is also an edition on labour rights.

With less than 60 days to the November 20 start of the tournament, he now has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram and more than 115,000 on YouTube. And the numbers keep growing.

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Qatar has dozens of online influencers on topics ranging from “modest” but expensive fashion, to the latest sports car being imported into what is now one of the world’s wealthiest nations.

Haroon carved out his niche by elucidating Qatar’s unknowns to its growing expat community — and now the hordes of football fans expected for the World Cup.

Haroon — who was born to a Qatari father and British mother and spent 16 years in Bahrain — said he was first confronted by global stereotypes about Qatar and the Middle East while studying for a law degree in Britain.

He had wanted to become an actor, but instead launched his social media presence in 2008 with a blog.

“I was in the perfect position because I was a Qatari who has never lived properly in Qatar,” he said.

– ‘Trust your own eyes’ –

“In essence, I was like a foreigner in my own country and so I had the same questions that foreigners did, and so it just made it easy for me to start putting together information.”

Haroon said there has to be a distinction between “negative news” and misinformation about his country.

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“When it comes to fake news, obviously, I think everybody understands that it’s not true and so the only thing that I could do is show people videos and pictures and show them what we’re really like because you can trust your own eyes.”

Some people, he said, have told him they decided to move to Qatar after watching his videos.

Haroon, who is now a consultant to the Qatar Football Association and an eSports entrepreneur, said he is excited about the World Cup “because people can now come here and experience it for themselves and make their own judgements instead of just believing what’s written”.

His main grouse is how outsiders see something negative about Qatar and then believe that all Qataris “accept it or we all agree with it”.

Many supporters of the 31 foreign countries who will play in Qatar have raised concerns, however, about the welcome awaiting them. Can they drink? And what will happen to same-sex couples in a country where homosexuality is illegal?

The government has insisted that beer, normally restricted, will be available and that everyone is welcome. Haroon wants outsiders to experience “real Qatari hospitality”, with its food and coffee culture.

“Of course there are going to be certain social norms,” said Haroon. “What we are asking for is just respect the country. And of course the country will definitely be respecting everyone that comes.”

“Some people might make mistakes because they don’t know what the rules are and that’s OK,” he added.

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“The point is our culture is all about intention, our religion is about intention, so as long as you have good intentions and you want to do the right thing, you have nothing to worry about.”

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