#trollingobama is a hashtag you'd expect to see used by Republicans. But it was coined by Tunisian internet users, who “occupied” US President Barack Obama's official Facebook page on Sunday night. By THERESA MALLINSON.
The story about “Americans whose lives have been impacted by President Obama’s student-loan reforms” posted on the president's Facebook page has received 166,595 comments (and more by the time you read this) – many of them in Arabic, and most far from complimentary.
According to website Tunisia Live: “The comments were sparked by recent news of Occupy Wall Street protesters injured in clashes with police in the US, and they cast Obama in the role of Arab dictators who have recently been deposed or shaken by popular protests.”
Many of the comments used a form of Tunisian satire called “tanbir”, which entails employing hyperbole for comic effect. (Tunisia Live claimed this was “uniquely” Tunisian, but anyone who's read The Onion, The Daily Mash or our own Hayibo, not to mention non-interweb-based texts, would see this simply as a further example of hyperbole.)
Politico rounded up some of the English-language comments, including: “Tunisia is the first country to recognise the American Transitional National Council”, “To overthrow any corrupt system in the world, please contact the Tunisian people”, and “Tunisian people denounce violations against the American people by the security forces, which affect the freedom of expression.”
Tunisians are revelling in the success of holding their first democratic elections, and are obviously enjoying using their newly-found freedom of expression on the cyber stage. Obama's no dictator; he'll get the joke without resorting to arresting people for Facebook posts, even if some of the comments – specifically those alluding to the treatment of various groups of #occupy protesters – may make him wince a little. FAM
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