Daily, I read articles on Anonymous. Some are glowing, supportive, respectful, some are trying to make fun of us or paint us as cybercriminals, while others mix it up with a smattering of both.
I’m sure even our Sister Gabriella Coleman (@biellacoleman) who probably knows more about Anons and Anonymous than any other person who is not an Anon, I am certain gets frustrated with us at times.
I write this as just one Anon, ONLY speaking for myself…I want that straight from the git go. That said, I can explain why the task is daunting at times.
First off, Anons are not monographic…we don’t toe a party line, we don’t all agree on everything, and even within OPs (operations), there can be so much dissension that the group breaks apart into two or more factions, often each claiming THEY are the legitimate group.
It is our amorphous nature that is a strength, and perhaps, a weakness.
At our heart, I believe most of us are social activists (often described as social HACKtivists after the word termed by a member of the Cult of the Dead Cow a LONG time ago). We champion the underdog, fight against brutality, victimization of people and animals, and try to be the voice for the voiceless. Though that may sound like flowery rhetoric taken from the “V for Vendetta” film, it is nonetheless my view of our concerns…a snapshot if you will, taken from the inside, not a pot shot from the outside.
Right now, the press worldwide is having a field day with talking about us, because of the war against ISIS, because, as we know, “if it bleeds, it leads”.
We have our detractors from all sectors from hackers to politicians to just the average bloke on the corner who has an opinion on us.
But, let me say why I am an Anon and what MY reason for being part of the Hive is. I am from the South, where I grew up seeing blacks abused, discriminated against, even killed by police, claiming they were “fleeing” and a warning shot got fired too low, hitting them in the back. I also saw gays getting discriminated against, women getting treated as second hand citizens, and hearing rape talked about by “good old boys” as if it were a joke. But, I also grew up seeing animals often treated as objects, not living creatures with feelings, and yes, dare I say it, hopefully, with legal rights in the future.
I’ve never been a “joiner”. I’m a lone wolf at my heart, but throughout my life, for whatever reason, people have often seen me in a context of someone who can get things done, and its just a hop skip and a jump to people looking to you to be the “leader” to speak out. I never really relished that role because I felt it allowed others to take a comfortable back seat and cruise.
When I finally found Anonymous, it felt like it was something I could get behind, could support, could be a part in, and NOT be looked at to be a leader. They shared my view of things like Scientology, the fact that data should not be the secret possession of a select few, but that truth should be open to the public. They were willing to step up when small towns tried to cover up rapes, when no one else was doing it. They brought a cyber magnifying glass to police killings of blacks, when often, they were the only ones being really vocal about it.
But, even being an Anon, it is hard for me to write the “definitive guide” about Anonymous. We are amorphous, changing, and all too often, our major Achilles heel is that we are indeed humans behind the Guy Fawkes mask, and humans find ways of disagreeing, of getting their feelings hurt, over the least little slight or unintended stream of words.
We are NOT perfect. Some of us, myself included, may not be very nice.
Although I could be very pleasant in engaging about the weather, when it comes to politics, or other topics, I know my positions often are not mainstream.
But, the aim is NOT perfection. It has been said the perfect is the enemy of the good…meaning obsession with getting something perfect can interfere with getting things done, when “good” should be the watermark.
No, I am an Anon NOT because we are perfect, NOT because we are always right (because we are NOT always right), NOT because we are the best hackers in the world, because I am certain there is always someone better than the one who claims to be the best…No, I am an Anon because of a fist shaped organ in my chest that pumps blood. I am an Anon because Anons, however they go about it, give a damn about what’s right, about the innocent, about TRYING to fight evils like ISIS, like rape, like police brutality, like pedophilia,like animal abuse and cruelty.
We may appear disorganized, even bumbling to some…but we are not Skynet, we are not robots, we are simply humans who say “enough is enough”…I care, and I am going to try to do something to help these victims.
So, that is what is missed in most articles about Anons. They focus on the hacking, the Ops, the Guy Fawkes mask, the alleged illegality of what some Anons do via DDoSing or whatever, but they miss the reason we are here, they skip over what would normally be called “the human interest story”. Why? Because that humanizes us, it makes us seem like your neighbor, and shudder…yes, like you. It makes you forget about that guy wearing a mask talking with a robotic,metallic voice on a video, and makes you think that the IT guy Andy, or Jerry, the computer repair man, might be an Anon. And that is essential because, we ARE you. We come from literally all over the world, from all professions, all occupations, all religions, all races, all languages. We come together as one #Anonfamily to say …our methods may not be perfect, we may look silly to you, our intentional misspellings may look childish, our memes may make you think we are not mature, but our hearts tell us we have to try to make things better.
And, to writers, if you don’t “get that”. If you either don’t give a shit, or want to write a hit piece trying to make us look juvenile, ineffective, or at the extreme, a terribly dangerous group of cybercriminals…all that comes from the shades, the blinders YOU are using…you are projecting on US…because in every culture, we ARE you…we are that part of you that demands justice , that gives voice to the voiceless, that offers a helping hand to the homeless, to the disabled, to the LGBT community when they are attacked or discriminated against.
To put it simply and crudely, we are ANONS because we give a shit about a better world…and though our methods may seem illegal, or bumbling, or silly, or whatever…we are trying. What are YOU doing ?
So, that’s it in a nutshell. We do not always share the same opinions, we do not always agree on every course of action or every issue, but we share the Fawkes mask, and yes, we share a beating heart that looks at injustice, at abuse, at inequality and says, No More. We do not forgive.
We do not forget. Expect Us. We are Legion. We are Anonymous.
Thanks for reading this.