This is an open letter of gratitude to the two People Before Profit comrades and the one pair of scissors that bravely strode out into Dublin city on the 26th of September and cut down the posters promoting a talk from rape survivors who chose to give birth to their children. Thank you for protecting me, a young woman in Trinity, from exposure to dangerous thoughts. Thank you for protecting us all from the idea that sometimes people who are raped and become pregnant do not choose abortion, and that sometimes they are very glad they did not, glad enough to speak publicly about it. Thank you for quashing the nuances and debate that surround this. Thank you for deleting the multiple comments on the Trinity People Before Profit Facebook page, from pro-lifers, pro-choicers and those with no firm convictions either way, who disagreed with your actions. Thank you for blocking them too. Thank you for leaving only those comments up that applauded your censorship, the comments that called you heroes, that wondered if there was ever a more iconic duo than you two. This was, of course, necessary to avoid the impression that many people thought you were completely wrong in what you did. I legitimately can’t think of a better way to earn goodwill from those outside the party than by refusing to engage in any debate or to permit any open criticism of your actions. You have done yourselves, and the movement and political party you claim to represent, a great service.

Thank you for ignoring the hypocrisy of preventing intimidation and shaming of women who were raped and chose abortion, by intimidating and shaming women who were raped and who did not choose abortion. There’s obviously no way anyone could hear both sides. We’re only university students, after all—our brains can only handle one track of ideas, one dogma, one truth. If people think there might be another side worth hearing, they must be FASCISTS! And before anyone says it, what you did was completely different to censorship by the Catholic Church (boo hiss, etc.) back in the day. Because your views are right! That’s the difference. If someone can’t see that your censorship is good and theirs was bad, well, block them from your page. Make fun of them! When someone calls you a disgrace, respond with ‘Sorry, not sorry’ and an emoji wearing sunglasses. That will absolutely make people respect you. My respect and tolerance for you and your party shot sky-high when I saw that, it really did.

Thank you for committing what may well be, under section 2 of the Criminal Damage Act 1991, an actual crime. Thanks for bragging about it online, and posting photos of yourselves in action. Some people might think that was a bit silly, given the aforementioned criminal angle, but if they point that out, just block them and then they won’t exist so everything will be fine. FIGHT THE PATRIARCHY (which for the purposes of this letter includes women who have been raped and who don’t adhere to the doctrine that those who become pregnant from sexual assault all choose abortion—FIGHT THEM, TOO, YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT, WE ONLY SUPPORT WOMEN WHO AGREE WITH US). Thank you for wearing hi-vis vests while you did it, even though, going by those photos, it wasn’t very dark out. I agree that the Facebook post and self promotion didn’t make you visible enough. A healthy dose of fluorescence was really necessary there.

So sorry for how belated this is, or, as you might say yourselves, ‘Sorry, not sorry’. I was afraid that those nutty free speech heads might come after me, spreading lies like ‘People should be allowed to speak freely, even if it doesn’t suit the message you’re trying to push’. Lies like, ‘People should be able to hear all views, and make up their minds for themselves’. Lies like, ‘Young women of Trinity don’t need to be shielded from ideas outside the Proper Way of Thinking™ by sanctimonious male Maoists’. There’s also the possibility that someone could really misinterpret this and think that I was really angry at two men deciding what ideas I am able to handle, two men thinking that my poor female head might explode if I was to hear of a person who didn’t get an abortion. Someone might think that I was actually angry and insulted by your efforts to make me, someone who might potentially look at one of these now happily disappeared posters, into an automatic victim. Then where would we be? A society where people can make their own minds up? Far better to live in what must be your almost completely impenetrable echo chamber, where alternative views simply don’t exist, because they can be deleted, blocked, and torn down. So handy! The memory of your bravery will live long—just you and your one pair of scissors (why only one pair of scissors? Wouldn’t someone have lent you another set?) battling raped mothers trying to share their stories.

So thank you. Thank you, you chivalrous knights in hi-vis vests, defending us all from our own minds.

Posted by Liz McKeon