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  • Writer's pictureDemi Lynch

Why Aren't More Aussie Public Figures Speaking Out Against Genocide In Gaza?




Despite the ongoing atrocities in Gaza, Australia's media landscape has been eerily quiet.


But it's not just the mainstream media - even some of our favourite content creators, independent news outlets and feminist platforms have chosen to ignore the humanitarian crisis and stay silent.


But why?


Maybe people are worried about losing their jobs if they speak out?


Maybe they think they should just "stay in their lane?"


Or maybe they're concerned about the backlash?


If all of that is true, then shouldn't we start acknowledging the greater problem here - why is calling out genocide deemed problematic?


Using your power and privilege to platform the voices of Gaza shouldn't be this controversial.



Author, content creator and 'Queen The Label' founder Constance Hall is one of the few public figures in Australia using their platform to talk about the genocide in Gaza.


However it seems those with platforms like hers are choosing to stay out of the conversation.


“I think there’s been a real let down with Australian public figures, especially people you’d expect to speak up because they’ve publicly spoken about it [social justice issues] in the past," says Constance, "I think thats been really telling on how much people’s paycheques control their lives - people that you know are left wing and are now saying nothing and succumbing to the pressure."


She says it was disappointing seeing former Australian of the Year Taryn Brumfitt attend the White House dinner in late October - several weeks after Israel began attacking Gaza with America's support.


"This comes from a place of respect and no pressure, judgement or expectation - I simply cannot not say this," Constance wrote to Taryn back in October, "Biden is funding this war - on children, babies, these war crimes."


She asked Taryn to research the matter but received no response.


" I do try to look at it from everyone’s angle, like imagine spending your whole life being a body advocate and getting that level of global exposure yet the person who is giving that to you is also killing children in Palestine," says Constance, "it's a terrible situation to be in but I know what I would've done.” 


Since using her social media platform to speak out against Israel, Constance has experienced her fair share of online harassment.


Fake stories about her family were written in the press.


And numerous troll accounts have been created to criticise her every move.



Just like Constance, model and age visibility advocate Luisa Dunn has also been trolled by these anonymous accounts.


She says it hasn't "turned her away from speaking up, but it definitely has impacted her mental health.”


“It was hurtful to me, I lost sleep," says Luisa, "it’s very childish, school-like, it’s very hurtful and it’s cruel.”


But despite the online harassment, Luisa says the trolls have "not taken her confidence away."


"It’s not going to stop me from posting and it’s not going to stop me from being dedicated to this cause," says Luisa, "I believe in this cause deep in my heart - there’s no way I’m going to let intimidation stop me from lending my account to elevate the voices that need to be heard.” 



After Luisa began talking about Gaza on her platform, she lost over 60,000 followers within three months.


But she's not worried, now she has a closer connection with the people who stayed.


“I’ve received messages from people telling me they now look at things a different way after seeing some of the content I’ve shared," says Luisa, "for me that just encourages me more, that’s why we do it - that’s why we’re raising the voices of the people on the ground."


Luisa says people in the public eye have "the privilege and the security to speak up."


"It’s not about pointing the finger - it’s about looking at your privilege and seeing what you can do to help," she says, "the more voices that are actually talking about this issue, the easier it becomes to speak out."


Luisa says if more public figures spoke up, it would encourage others to do the same.


"Human rights is not a complex issue, we don’t just have to be ‘in our lane," she says, "if something was happening in Australia I would hope that the rest of the world wouldn’t just ignore  us."


Constance says right now more than ever people need to "be brave in this world."


"No kind of backlash that you receive will ever measure to what these people in Palestine are going through," says Constance, "in moments like this you have to ask yourself what do I stand for in this world - is it my career, my following, my money or my humanity?"



 

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