In 1975, when the Lebanese civil war began, Brigitte Gabriel was 10 years old. After her home was destroyed by Muslim militias, she spent seven years living in a primitive underground bomb-shelter, scrounging for food and water, and never knowing each day whether it would be her last. She still bears the marks in her arms where the shrapnel struck her.
By most accounts, Brigitte Gabriel should be the poster child for anyone concerned about the plight of refugees from war-torn nations. She is inarguably a victim who has overcome some daunting challenges. She is (according to at least one definition) a “woman of color”. She is an immigrant. She is a strong, smart woman who has built a multi-national organization with over a million members (ACT! for America… which despite its name, includes a number of chapters in other countries). She has authored three books and has appeared countless times on national television. She is a widely sought-after speaker. She personifies the classic immigrant success story.
In short, Brigitte Gabriel is an intersectionalist’s dream come true.
But there is a problem: Brigitte Gabriel’s understanding of the world is disapproved.
As a Lebanese Christian growing up in the midst of the civil war, Brigitte Gabriel has first-hand experience of what sectarian violence and extremism look like. Throughout her life, she has been very vocal in opposing an ideology that is “fundamentally opposed to democracy and equality”: radical Islam.
CAIR and SPLC have branded Gabriel as an anti-Muslim bigot. So it wasn’t too surprising when we learned on Monday that Facebook has labeled her an “Agent of Hate.” She’s not been banned yet, but she’s definitely made it onto the enemies list.
So what’s an intersectional refugee immigrant powerful woman of color to do?
If Facebook, CAIR, and SPLC have anything to say about it, the answer is clear: “Shut up and toe the line.”
Gladly, that’s not happening. In fact, Brigitte Gabriel will be speaking in Nashua, New Hampshire on July 11th. (More information at this link.)
The other name that emerged from the Facebook “Agents of Hate” list is that of Candace Owens. She dared to write a post saying that “liberal supremacy” is the real threat to Black Americans, not white supremacy. Facebook’s thought-police swooped into action; Owens was slapped with a 7-day account suspension.
After some bad publicity, Facebook issued their usual “oops we made a mistake” announcement and restored Owens’ account. But not all conservative women of color have the name recognition that Candace Owens and Brigitte Gabriel have. When Facebook suspends the accounts of lesser-known conservative women, will enough people speak out to get them restored? Or will they just have to choose between complying with Facebook’s censorship standards and taking a seat at the back of the social media bus?