Friday 12 February 2021

Pseudopasts and Modern Leanings

                 Thin Trump in his Hedjet          

HOPE not hate has highlighted what seems to be the (attempted?) emergence of a bizarre cult that they affirm is piggy-backing on the QAnon conspiracy theory and far right imagery to amass a vast network of followers on 'alt-tech' platforms like Telegram and underlines the dangers posed by conspiracy theories and disinformation (Gregory Davis, 'The Sabmyk Network: How a Mysterious Disinformation Network is Highjacking QAnon', Hope not hate 12/02/2021). It is worth noting the timing of tyhe creation of the portals by which this material is being disseminated, and considering who/what is behind it. What is relevant here is the way this links with re-imaginings of a made-up mythological past:
the real purpose of the channels is to promote the Messianic mythology of Sabmyk and the sword of Shawunuwaz. [...] This narrative, a blend of ancient mythology, New Age spirituality and some entirely new elements, appears to be the creation of an Iranian artist living in Germany who goes by the name Princess Ameli Achaemenes. Achaemenes claims to be a descendant of Persian royalty and to have been given her ancestral sword of Shawunawaz by the billionaire investor George Soros in 1992, before destroying it to prevent it from causing further harm [...]Achamenes’ website, a website devoted to the Sword of Shawunawaz and series of interlinked Facebook pages promoting these fables, were all established in early 2020, although none received much attention at the time. The Shawunawaz website claims to be the work of an organisation called the Shawunawaz Society and lists a street address in Baden Baden, Germany, but has no visible presence elsewhere. The websites and Facebook pages present supposed sketches and references to the sword from prominent historical figures like Picasso and Heraclitus, all of which are forgeries.[...] The myth of Shawunawaz only began to receive wider exposure in December of 2020, when the operation moved to Telegram and adopted the strategy of piggybacking on QAnon and other conspiracy beliefs to draw in unsuspecting users. By this time, the narrative of Shawunawaz as detailed on Achaemenes’ website had been altered with the addition of a Messianic figure called Sabmyk, who is claimed to be preordained ruler of the earth and who came into existence on December 21, 2020.
"Sabmyk" is a name unknown from existing texts on ancient mythology. "Shawunawaz" likewise. The object shown in the drawings is a very improbable form of any kind of "sword" and certainly not one that would be used by "King Gilgamesh" and Alexander the Great. The presentation of the sword jumps from one unsubstantiated statement to another, the Varna Tablets are cited as a valid source on Gilgamesh. One wonders whether this is all an elborate stunt to sell some otherwise uninteresting paintings by an artist attempting to 'do a Banksy'. The same sort of thing however can be found elsewhere, such as the cult of Kek ( Adrià Salvador Palau and Jon Roozenbeek, 'How an ancient Egyptian god spurred the rise of Trump' The Conversation, March 7, 2017).
Pepe the frog and /pol/ first collided with the outside world in June of 2015, when Trump announced his candidacy for president of the united states. Trump, with his aversion to “political correctness” and penchant for flair and showmanship, was /pol/’s immediate candidate of choice. And so, Pepe the frog was edited to wear a “Make America Great Again” hat, and began appearing in hundreds of Trump-supporting forum posts. [...] The word “Kek”, originally a Korean onomatopoeia for a raspy laugh, had long been used on 4chan as a replacement for “lol” (laughing out loud). One day, a /pol/ contributor discovered that Kek is also the name of an ancient Egyptian frog god.
The similarities between Kek and Pepe were striking enough as it was, but Kek also has a female alter ego, or nemesis, that takes the form of a snake. This was quickly taken to symbolise Clinton, a universally reviled character within the /pol/ community. What’s more, to our modern eyes, the hieroglyphs supposedly used to write the name Kek in ancient Egyptian even strongly resemble a man sitting in front of his computer. [...] Historical inaccuracies notwithstanding, this series of coincidences proved too much for the 4chan community to ignore, and the cult of Kek was born. The frog-headed Kek became the father, Pepe the holy spirit, and Trump the son, sent to Earth to fulfil a divine destiny. [...] What this saga means for the future role of the internet in political campaigning isn’t yet clear, but a precedent has been set: no matter how bizarre or misinformed, the collective power of tens of thousands of internet cultists appears to works wonders.
Things like this start raising questions that we should be addressing about the nature of our relationship with "the past" (and "pasts") and the actual dangers of not engendering a more questioning attitude among the public to what they are told about it, such as the manipulative false use of made-up stories of ancient gods, heroes and symbols...

Hat tip for the Pepe/Kek story 'going about my business'

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