Politics & Policy

#WeAreN Campaign Makes a Difference

The campaign on behalf of Iraqi Christians has not suffered the fate of many social-media efforts.

Will the hashtag campaign for Iraqi Christians beat the odds? Even with the noblest of intentions, social-media campaigns often fail to produce any real-world consequences. Such was the unfortunate fate of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Although it became so popular that even first lady Michelle Obama “did her part” and tweeted a picture of herself holding a sign that read “#BringBackOurGirls,” the hashtag failed to inspire anyone, most importantly Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, to mount a concerted effort to recover the missing schoolchildren. Four months after the hashtag went viral, most of the young girls originally kidnapped remain missing.

However, once in a while, social media causes actual change. The #WeAreN campaign is one of those success stories.

National Review Online previously reported on the #WeAreN movement, which involved many people on Facebook and Twitter changing their profile pictures to the Arabic letter ن, which the terrorist group the Islamic State has painted on the homes and businesses owned by Christians in Mosul, Iraq. Christians were then ordered to leave the city or stay and convert, pay a hefty tax, or risk death. The 14th letter of the Arabic alphabet (pronounced “nūn”) is equivalent to the Roman letter N and stands for “Nasara,” or “Nazarene,” a pejorative Arabic word for Christians.

In an inspiring display of Christian and human solidarity, social-media users turned the ن from a symbol of shame, as the Islamic State intended it to be, to a rallying cry. The #WeAreN hashtag went viral and is still going strong.

Because of the mainstream media’s original disinterest in the jihadist genocide of Christians, alternative media, including social media as well as Christian and conservative publications, are bringing the terrible situation to the forefront.

Fueled in part by the #WeAreN campaign, protests in favor of Christians forced to flee their homes in Mosul and other parts of Iraq now under the control of the Sunni fanatic are springing up across the United States and all over the world. Activists demanding Western leaders to put an end to the genocide have demonstrated in Paris, Copenhagen, SeattleDetroit, New York, Modesto, Calif., and elsewhere. In many of the demonstrations, protestors wore shirts emblazoned with the ن.  The protest in Sydney, Australia, boasted more than 6,000 people.  

Much like the Arab Spring, the protests were almost solely organized through social media, using the hashtag #WeAreN. “This is a modern-day holocaust. . . . It cannot be ignored.” Suzan Younan, a protest organizer in Modesto, told the Modesto Bee.

Some leaders, prompted by the rallies, are offering the displaced Christians asylum. German chancellor Angela Merkel has informed the German press that she is willing to allow Germany to accept Christian refugees. #WeAreN protests have taken place in the German cities of Hamburg and Gutersloh. France has also offered asylum to Iraqi Christians, and protests have happened in Paris.

Although it is easy to dismiss social media as a distraction that is given too much importance, the #WeAreN campaign is a testament to the power that social media has and to the good it can do. It is possible that without social media a genocide could have been overlooked.

— Christine Sisto is an editorial associate at National Review Online.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More