From Crisis to Collective Strength |

3 mins

From Crisis to Collective Strength

Following the horrific incident in Dublin on Thursday, November 23, our hearts are with those who have been attacked, their families, friends, the school community at Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire, witnesses, first responders, and anyone else who has been affected. We extend our sympathy in this difficult time and wish for a full recovery to those who were injured.

On that same day, a small group exploited a tragic event to orchestrate violence and chaos in Dublin’s city centre. The repercussions have left various marginalised communities — migrants, asylum seekers, travellers, women, people of colour, and LGBTQ+ individuals — in a state of fear and anxiety.

The manipulation of tragedy to sow fear, instigate violence, and spread hatred is deeply disturbing. Outhouse, like many others, has long called for action against the escalating threats posed by hate, lies, and disinformation. The orchestrators of this hate are well known to both An Garda Síochána and Government Ministers. The failure to effectively deal with these orchestrators raises serious concerns.

These orchestrators have quietly worked in overlooked communities, destabilising them and sowing division. They lie in wait, choosing the right moment to stoke fear, hate, and division, setting communities alight.

In the aftermath of the Dublin events, it becomes crucial to understand the role of social media and media-wraparound effects. When individuals seek information online, algorithms present them with content similar to what they’ve engaged with before. This creates a reinforcing loop, making it challenging to debunk conspiracy theories, which grow roots over time.

In moments of crisis such as this, hope can seem elusive, especially when confronted by seemingly impenetrable belief systems. However, it is essential that we reject the notion that holding onto hope is naive. The road ahead may be formidable, but collective strength lies in individuals and communities driven by a shared vision of positive change. At Outhouse, we are working to create a future where LGBTQ+ people are safe, seen, and celebrated.

Tackling the root causes of misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracies is imperative. While addressing visible symptoms is crucial, it’s equally important to understand the deeper causes sustaining these issues. Symptom-focused solutions, like those put forward by the Government in the aftermath, are akin to treating surface wounds without addressing the infection beneath.

Responding to incidents like riots without understanding the mainstreaming of far-right conspiracy theories and how public policy has left many in our society behind, creating a fertile recruitment ground for the far-right, is shortsighted and will sustain an ongoing cycle of hate and violence.

Media literacy is a critical first step in confronting root causes. Understanding why disinformation is incentivised and acknowledging the role of social media platforms, far-right media and mainstream media is vital. The power of personal narratives plays a pivotal role. Engaging individuals in sharing and listening to stories about their relationship with media and our unequal society can open up opportunities for transformative discourse.

Addressing root narratives involves countering the core narrative fuelling far-right conspiracy theories - that an alleged threat from ‘bad actors’ is seeking to destroy society. To counteract this narrative, addressing the root causes behind these beliefs is essential.

Facts alone are insufficient in countering falsehoods. Merely presenting true information assumes individuals are open to correction. Recognising the limitations of facts and focusing on broader truths is essential.

To create lasting change, addressing symptoms is necessary but incomplete. Shifting the focus to address inequity in our society is foundational to souring the fertile ground in which the far-right is recruiting.

This means:

• Resourcing communities struggling to respond, support for youth and community workers, assistance for parents and schools, and community-led anti-racism responses.

• Resourcing communities targeted by hate to ensure safety and inclusion.

• Regulating algorithmic amplification by digital platforms to curb the spread of dangerous material online.

• An intelligence-led policing response that anticipates and intercepts orchestrators of threats.

• Stronger community policing prioritising relationship and trust building.

• Inclusive narratives supported by strong policies to create welcoming and safer environments for everyone, regardless of background or identity.

Outhouse, LGBT Ireland, the Hope and Courage Collective and a wide range of allies across civil society have written to An Taoiseach seeking an urgent summit between government and civil society on tackling these root causes. Coming together and working in partnership can create a world where all marginalised communities, including LGBTQ+ people, are safe, seen, and celebrated.

The road ahead is long and winding. The team in Outhouse are here to lead the way and support everyone in our community on this journey towards a better, more inclusive, and equitable tomorrow.

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