A Latin sentence meaning “Even you, Brutus?” from the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare. Caesar utters these words as he is being stabbed to death, having recognized his friend Brutus AMONG the assassins.

When someone is accused, not found guilty but accused of harbouring or sheltering a would-be criminal, I understand the need for “friends” to distance themselves from that person, especially on social media.

What is disappointing is the betrayal by friends who play judge, jury, and executioner based on hearsay from people who have hidden agendas, from people who blatantly spread lies, accusations, attempt to destroy someone’s credibility without a shred of evidence and acting completely contrary to the way they experienced that person in real life. Not to the alleged perpetrator but to family members.

Suddenly the entire family, based purely on blood, an accident of birth, is guilty by association. These friends had 2 choices, remain silent and wait for the legal outcome or join the bunch of wild dogs that hunt in packs to publicly condemn and destroy.

Here’s the problem though with this type of mentality especially on social media, what happens after the fact?

In other words, what happens to that person, the one found guilty by association and this so-called friendship that evidently was no friendship at all?

Can a simple apology make up for the public condemnation and judgment of the individual who was found “guilty by association?”

Friendships can’t simply go back to the way they were before. It’s impossible to walk back once that line has been crossed and nigh impossible to “pick up where you left off!”

See the knives have been plunged into the back already and “friends” have decided, based on lies, to take said knives and twist it for better effect and some have gone a step further and taken out one of those knives and plunged it into other parts of the body to ensure that betrayal accompanies the hurt already inflicted.

Were they really friends from the start? Of course not! The friends who chose to remain neutral and silent, you can respect, albeit reluctantly but you can never respect those who decided like sheep to follow a path for popularity’s sake.

Before social media platforms, you never got to know family and friends of any accused and people applied their brains like amateur detectives to investigate allegations and weigh up the pros and cons. They never went from the accused (note accused) to familial relations and vilified them in order to join the herd without questioning the motives of the ones leading the herd.

This type of mentality is why the Jews experienced the Holocaust, the black community in the States the public lynching and deaths under the Jim Crow laws and finally black and brown peoples countless deaths and oppression during Apartheid.

Sadly, when some white people were asked why they were hated black and brown people they couldn’t respond because they didn’t know but worse than not knowing is that so few stood up to their leaders to say “No, enough. This isn’t right!” So few white people applied critical thinking in these instances and asked, “Why do I need to hate this person?” They happily continued their lives knowing what was going on, could see the knives being plunged and instead of being the voice of reason, they chose instead to take up an additional knife lying on the ground and create more wounds.

Social media platforms shouldn’t be solely blamed for this type of behaviour though because the mob mentality was evident when people lashed out at Jesus chanting “crucify him!”

The betrayal from Judas though must have been devastating.