JVB, your online family misses you
Julia van Beelen, aka JVB, and I started talking online about six years ago before the 2012 General Election. Needless to say, we, along with a select group of politics junkies, often were in “spirited” online debates that seemingly lasted for 24 hours at a time.
With her, there was no “grey area” of her social and political leanings, and her open disdain for the Westminster system.
One could best describe her as ultra-pragmatic in her arguments. Arming herself with facts and figures, anyone debating her would have to be of strong will. If your point was devoid of facts, she would make mincemeat of you in short order.
Ironically, she was one of the persons that inspired me, in her own JVB way, to ensure my statements were airtight — or she would pick it apart with great glee.
During one particular debate, we found out our sons played on the same football team. Which then led to some colourful inbox conversations about parenthood and how Saturday football games created a whole community of football parents.
On a few Saturdays, she and I were on the sidelines cheering our sons as they played their hearts out for Devonshire Colts.
Somehow, during those Saturday games, JVB was able to mix a conversational cocktail of architectural projects, environmental concerns, football and politics into our face-to-face conversations.
There I got to see a different JVB outside of the confines of cyber-debates. I got to see that, while we would hardly agree on anything politically, we did have a few things in common and could have brief moments of “Kumbaya”.
Which leads me to this observation:
Over the next few months, as we get closer to the next General Election, there will be increased amounts of social and political exchanges going on in various online forums.
Politics being what it is in Bermuda, we will often find ourselves at each other’s throats with different life experiences and political opinions.
This can often bubble over into unpleasant exchanges if we allow it to. However, if we take five minutes to actually introduce ourselves to each other in person, it can change the course of how we view each other. At this point in time, arguing with people on social media will simply be a waste of time, as no one ever changes how they plan to vote based on online debate.
In closing, I don’t think I ever previously considered JVB a friend. Yet her passing has left a void for many of us who have built an online family over the past six years. She really is missed dearly by many.
Knowing JVB being the master architect, she is most likely at the Pearly Gates, inspecting them to ensure they meet her rigid expectations.
• Christopher Famous is a Progressive Labour Party organiser. Reach out to him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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