Iraqis have started a
campaign on social media against UN envoy Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert. They used
hashtags such as "Jeanine Hennis is corrupt," "you are a shame"
and "Oh, Liar Jeanine Hennis get out of Iraq."
Twitterers draw a big red cross on her image in attempts to force her to leave Iraq.
The Iraqis are worried about a tweet of Hennis in which she appears to call on protesters to leave important (oil) infrastructure alone. Young Iraqi people have been protesting for weeks against corrupt government, inequality and the influence of neighboring Iran. As a result of the crackdown of the police, more than 260 people have been killed and hundreds injured. At least six protesters were shot by the Iraqi security forces this Thursday, Reuters reported.
Hennis ’tweet already led to more than 5,500 comments - mostly outraged. "Is oil more important than the Iraqi people?" Someone asks. Others point out that people have never benefited from the aforementioned oil and ports.
Some participants in the social media campaign make a connection between Hennis' current position and her previous job. "She doesn't care about killing the Iraqis" and "It's not the first time she's lying," they write on Twitter and Facebook. They refer to 2015 when Hennis was the minister of defense in the Netherlands and the House of Representatives misinformed about Iraqi civilian deaths. The news about the Dutch recognition of the more than seventy civilian deaths that occurred during a bombing of the Iraqi city of Hawija was broadcast on Iraqi television this week. The news was also shared in other Arab media.
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), the UN organization that manages Hennis, must advise and assist both the Iraqi government and the people in its own mandate. That means continuous balancing between different interests, especially now as protesters in different Iraqi cities are facing the government. A week ago, people still enthusiastically posting on social media images of Hennis who put a mask against tear gas between the protesters on Tahrir Square in Baghdad. Now Twitterers are calling her a liar and accusing her and her organization of being confined to Western oil interests.
A new tweet in which Hennis tries to limit the damage by emphasizing that the UN is a partner for "every Iraqi who seeks change" cannot count on much support.