Beware the Pistorians

2013-03-31 10:02

They are young women who keep watch on social networks and are spread across the globe.

They call themselves the #Pistorians, and their aim is to defend the reputation of their hero and confessed “idol”, Olympic athlete and murder accused Oscar Pistorius.

The group, some of whom live in South Africa, while others live in countries as far afield as Germany, the UK and the island of Borneo, have vowed to support and stand by Pistorius throughout his trial for girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp’s murder.

They support their hero in the same way as singer Chris Brown is defended by his Twitter fanclub #teambreezy.

This week, the Pistorians were at the top of their game, defending the paralympian during his appeal before the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, to which he applied to have his bail conditions relaxed.

The Pistorians’ unofficial leader, Laura Lambden, who lives in the UK, got them going early on Thursday when she tweeted: “Morning #Pistorians! Let’s focus our energies on Mr Roux and Mr Oldwage today!”

Advocate Barry Roux and attorney Kenny Oldwage comprise Pistorius’ legal team.

In the early hours of February 14, Pistorius shot Steenkamp, who was a budding model, dead while she was in the toilet of his home in Pretoria’s Silver Woods Estate. During his bail application, Pistorius said he had mistaken her for a burglar.

His defenders, who mobilise around the hashtag #Pistorianson Twitter, grouped a few days after “OP”, as they affectionately call him, was arrested.

They now make online collages they call #OscarPorn of shirtless pictures of Pistorius, and spend hours scouring the internet for messages, status updates and posted news articles about him that they perceive as negative.

And then they strike.

Australian journalist Alex McClintock felt their wrath first hand.

In an article for Vice magazine, he wrote about how a comment he posted on Twitter on domestic abuse in South Africa was interpreted as a “specific comment on Pistorius and Reeva”.

The Pistorians, he soon understood, would stop at little in their hero’s defence, including blaming Reeva.

“Err, like she was a bikini model, sex sells!! I would be really upset if my daughter posed like that,” tweeted @feismumdebi.

“Call me old fashioned but I’d rather my boyfriend didn’t allow a perceived intruder to enter the house unchallenged,” wrote @sabipheebee.

And later @Lisabud wrote: “Well, my fellow #Pistorians, what a day it has been. I’m off to bed so I can face the poop tomorrow has to bring...#inoscarwetrust.”

This week, City Press asked some Pistorians why they spend up to seven hours a day defending the athlete.

They have also taken up the cause of his brother, Carl, who appeared in court this week on culpable homicide charges.

He was involved in an accident in March 2008 in which a motorcyclist was killed.

Oldwage is his lawyer too.

Twitter user @lupin_lizzie said that they “believe in a human beings’ right to a fair trial”.

When asked if she would have similarly supported OJ Simpson, she blocked City Press, and so did the rest of the #Pistorians.

Lamben, writing under the name of @LiliTyger, then took the lead, saying there was “another ‘journo’ sniffing around wanting to do a piece on us – does she really think we’ll talk to her?”

@smiffyimp2h then wrote “@LiliTyger just blocked her. She thinks we’re extremists.”

@EmG_R_EmM sniffed: “Every 2-bit freelancer wants to make name for themselves out of this story. Go & do your work and stop bugging people.”

On Thursday, Judge Bert Bam relaxed Pistorius’ bail conditions, allowing him to travel abroad as long as he informs his lawyers a week ahead of time.

Pistorius also no longer has to undergo routine drug and alcohol tests and would no longer be subjected to unannounced visits from his probation officer.

He would also be allowed to return home once the police have finished gathering forensic evidence.

Throughout the proceedings, they tweeted their support, and showed their joy afterwards. Lambden tweeted siblings Carl and Aimee Pistorius: “So relieved for you...power of positive thought.”

Out in tweet force

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