So some dumb schoolgirl has committed suicide and everyone’s talking about how the government is going to ban Facebook.

Something’s wrong here. One has to question a girl with self-esteem so low that she creates a fake account, seduced someone / fell in love/lust through it, started a fake relationship then hanged herself when it was outed. She’s either dumb  –

Or, more truthfully, her parents were at fault.

Seriously. Sri Lanka has certain stereotypes – the constipated, fierce, domineering parent, the innocent, afraid girl child – but so rarely does one see such tragic events unfold from what is essentially a parenting failure. Imagine raising a child so insecure that they must needs hide behind a fake photo and a name on a social network; imagine said child hanging herself – actually taking her own life – for what is essentially a mistake of youth, easily covered up and forgotten in the long run.

Imagine what kind of fucked-up parenting is needed to raise a child like that.

In case you’re wondering, no, schools do not teach Hanging Yourself 101 as a general subject. We often hear and see this kind of stereotype – but we see them in teledramas, not so violently in real life: Sri Lankans as aren’t that stupid. But occasionally, as you can see, shit hits the fan (remember the girl who hanged herself because someone found porn on her mobile?). 

And so we get onto part two: the blocking of Facebook. The government (namely, Gotabhaya Rajapakse) has expressed “concerns” over Facebook before. The powers-that-be have said quite a few times that Facebook is used for terrorist activities and the like (it’s not like actual insurgents might, hmm, prefer cellphones and SMSes to logging in and “liking” each other’s bomb threats). Now, in the wake of a tragic death, would be the perfect time to convince all the brain-dead parents that it is the medium of expressions that is at fault, not the users. 

Here’s a few home truths about Facebook: It’s a social network. Social networks are a virtual extension of society. (Not to be confused with Wanaathamulla and other high-crime districts).  Nobody needs to be told the myriad of advantages and social interactions that arise out of such networks – heck, they’v redefined the art of keeping in touch.

But all such networks, as a virtual extensions of society, can be abused by its users, but less than real society. Can a man kill you online? He can humiliate, annoy, blackmail you, but can he kill you with a chat message? No. But in non-virtual society, he can do all of the above and he can also stick a knife in your face.

So what would Sri Lanka do? Blame the knife, or the man wielding it? Blame the network, or the poor upbringing that led to a child disturbed enough to take her own life?

Shoot the messenger, folks. It’s not like people haven’t been committing suicide without Facebook’s aid for centuries. Oh, no. By all means. Go ahead. Ban Facebook.

See where that gets you.