The Many Forms of Bullying
Dealing with Bullies can go very wrong!
The Bully that makes the headlines!
Recently there has been bullying in Syria. Of the four million who have fled this country in fear a percentage will end up in Australia where hopefully the bullying will come to an end.
Of course Australians do not want the bullies to also migrate from Syria to Australia.
Hopefully the Australian government will look closely at the Syrian refugees. Australia should be a haven for the innocent and not part of the problem. Political correctness might make this impossible. Hopefully this will not be the case.
In France there has been bullying taken to extremes. Here I am referring to Muslim extremists slaughtering artists and writers at Charlie Hebdo.
However, they did not win. Because of the bloodshed the magazine has gone up in sales and has also gone international. Hence such bullying cannot and does not work. We cannot let such bullies win - ever.
The present day pope seems okay with what happened at the offices of Charlie Hebdo. It was in a speech he gave.
Of course Charlie Hebdo magazine had had some rather unflattering cartoons of pedophile priests in past issues. Certainly priests, Catholic or otherwise, who do not do the right thing where children are concerned should be thought of as bullies in the extreme.
Recently a man was jailed in Burma for making fun of the Buddha.
Please note he is not facing execution and he will be released in a few years times. Insulting the Buddha in a Buddhist country is rather stupid thing to do, especially if you have been living there a while.
Even so, the people of Burma have proven to be a LOT more civilized and understanding than those Muslim extremists that attacked Charlie Hebdo. Violence is not the way. The pen, please, not the sword.
In 1988 The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie first came out. The author was bullied by Muslim radicals to the extent that Ayatollah Khomeini called for a fatwa against him. This resulted in several failed assassination attempts.
I remember buying The Satanic Verses for a friend because she wanted to fight back against such religious bullying. I also felt I was doing my bit by my purchase.
In Australia there have been some instances of school bullying. At one west of Sydney school the idiots doing the bullying decided it was okay to be put on Utube what they were doing.
Hence the bashing of a teenager was recorded providing good evidence for the police. In recent times in Sydney, Australia bullying hasn't been confined to the guys. There have also been incidents of girls beating up girls.
In the USA it is a shame but schools and colleges are not as safe as they once were even a decade ago. Even in a quiet country town there can be gun play involving the demise of innocent young children. Why this should be happening at this time is a difficult question to answer.
Is television to blame? I don't believe this to be the case though there are shows that reflect society's general abhorrence for bullies and also that feeling going around that justice in its truest form is not that easy to come by.
Are electronic video games and internet sites to blame? Again, these things reflect what is already out there rather than, on their own, being to blame.
Poverty and the desperation caused by poverty, in some instances, is part of the answer. Many places in the USA are still in a deep financial hole. There are definitely places where jobs for school kids and school leavers are hard to come by. Parents can also have their frustrations with poverty.
Frustration with a society where you don't belong and, no matter what you do, you will never belong is another answer.
Then there are those who have been bullied to the point where they see the only way out of their misery is to take up arms. If the arms are there then that is what they will do.
In an episode of the American television show Flashpoint, an intelligent though not very world-wise school kid is forced to eat garbage by the lead bully at his school while the bully's hangers-on watch and applaud. The result? Humiliated and knowing where his dad keeps his gun, the kid decides to go on a gun toting rampage.
In this piece of fiction some of the hangers-on are shot but not the lead bully. That particular creep is only punished in that he must live with for the rest of his life with the knowledge of starting this whole mess in the first place. what's more, even the remaining uninjured hangers-on are not likely to remain friendly toward him in the future. The bully had a girlfriend which he also lost by what he had so stupidly set in motion.
Hence bullies at school plus easy enough access to firearms equals trouble in the real world as well as the fictional world of Flashpoint.
Admittedly, watching this episode of Flashpoint I was hoping the lead bully would get shot and killed. Of course the show being fiction I am permitted to feel this way but it does say something about human nature, or at least my human nature, and the desire for justice of one sort or another.
A few years ago a Korean college student studying in the USA when crazy with a firearm at the college where he was studying. Months before the incident his English lecturer made it known that she thought he was rather disturbed and needed psychiatric help.
This was based on what he had written for one of her classes. It seemed to her to be a cry for help that should be heeded. The powers that be, however, ignored her concerns. What's more, he was allowed to purchase firearms. The result? A massacre that could have been avoided.
Of course bullying isn't confined to the physical. There is name calling and attacks via email, Facebook and mobile phone. This is quite possibly the most sinister and cowardly form. It has led to suicides in the USA and in other countries.
Historic Bullying and the Results
The Bully in History
Bullies abound in every generation, in every walk of life and in every country. It is the dark side of human nature. It is part of every culture and many cultures have tried to stamp it out.
It is when children are attacked by bullies that we mostly sit up and take notice. When one child is so tormented by bullies that he or she decides to grab a gun and improve his or her lot that we really pay attention though usually only for a short while.
The military of numerous countries over the centuries has made bullying, especially the bullying of new recruits, part of their military order.
The idea here is to toughen up the recruit or the slacker. Of course in any military there must be discipline but when does discipline slip into that darker than night area of torture? It is a question being asked today.
Slavery was and is a very old form of bullying. Up until the 19th Century it got quite a bit of support from many nations. The British ended it in their part of the world and then persuaded New Yorkers to do likewise.
In order to stay in the good books with the British, they sent their slaves south and thus were able to claim they no longer had slaves.
The Emancipation Proclamation came into being during the American Civil War. The end of this war officially ended slavery in the USA. There were still civil rights issues that needed to be addressed and much was not settled until the 1960s.
It should be noted that the KKK was born in 1865 and was quite powerful in the 1920s. It should also be noted that Eleanor Roosevelt throughout her life hated bullying in all its forms and actually pressed, in the 1930s until her death in 1962, for all Americans to be treated fairly. To get some insight into the KKK and their activities check out the film Mississippi Burning (1988).
The people of some countries have been bullied into going mad. After the horrors of the First World War, the allies forced a treaty on Germany destined to weaken and then to destroy the newly formed German democratic Weimar Republic.
The British stopped food and medicine from getting to the German people until the treaty was signed. Food was so scarce in Berlin that the people who bought meat off a certain butcher didn't ask what meat it was or even where it came from. The German film The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel, 1979) perfectly illustrates how hard these times were on the German people. There is a ghastly scene in the movie where a horse's head is used to fish for eels.
There was one butcher during this time that, in fact, got away with selling chopped up people for a time. Was this stopping of food and medicine bullying on the part of the British? Some historians would say yes.
Others would say that the Germans started hostilities in 1914 and so were getting, after the war, what they richly deserved. Others would point out that the U-boats used by the Germans during the Great War caused food shortages in Britain and that the British were just getting their own back.
There were a LOT of arrangements between various nations going on before the Great War started. These arrangements were meant to prevent conflict on a large scale but inevitably led right to it. Also the upper class British were somewhat keen on bloodying the common worker to diminish the call for better wages and conditions.
A short war was felt adequate in accomplishing this bloodying. No one at the time understood that the fighting would go on for four horrid years and involve much of the world.
What's more, later on when reparation payments from the Germans were late, the French marched troops into the Ruhr area of Germany and kept them there from 1923 to 1925 until payments were forthcoming. Was this bullying? Some historians would say yes and also that the results of it were disastrous.
Lots of money was printed to pay off the French but, without the proper backing, this lead to incredible inflation. Even before the Great Depression, Germany was in a bad financial way. Loans from the USA helped prop up a failing economy and to put Germany on the right path. Then the Great Depression did hit and the USA called in all its loans with disastrous effects for a lot of countries including and especially Germany.
In the 1930s the German people lost faith in democracy. There was now a choice between the Communists and the Nazis. The industrialists came to be in support of the Nazis. They felt that the Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler, could be controlled by them. They were wrong.
It was generally felt that the Communists would not be good at rebuilding the country. What was said to be needed was the re-adaption of old fashioned values and the putting in charge of a powerful new leader. It was thus that possibly the greatest bully of them all was put in charge of the fate of Germany.
Hitler was born in Austria and not Germany but that didn't matter. He was said to be Germanic but he really didn't look Germanic. That also didn't seem to matter.
It had long time been acknowledged that the Treaty of Versailles had been unfair to the German people. Thus when Hitler decided to take back some of the land that had been annexed from Germany because of the treaty the other powers decided to do nothing about it. If those people wanted again to be part of the greater Germany then so be it. Conquest without much violence at all. It wouldn't last, however, even though British Prime Minister Chamberlain seemed to be unaware of this fact.
Peace was made between Germany and Great Britain in 1938 but, with the German invasion of Poland in 1939, this peace was broken. Great Britain and the empire came to be once more at war with Germany.
Adolf Hitler did keep a lot of his early promises to the German people. He did get the factories going again. The new motor way under construction did provide work for many of the unemployed. People who were once without hope had employment and food on the table. Did it matter that certain Germans were no longer considered to be German?
The Nazi attacks upon the rights of Jewish people living in Germany must have seemed like madness to many living in Germany at the time. There was a feeling that it would eventually blow over. Instead it got worse.
It wasn't only the Jews. Gypsies and Slavic people were also picked on. Eventually gays were also singled out for the concentration camps that eventually became death camps. The leaders of unions and the Communists were definitely not spared. There were certain German Catholics and also Lutherans who protested against the brutalities of the new order and so were severely dealt with.
As German conquests continued so did the reign of terror against people who were said to have either the wrong religion or the wrong racial background. This was bullying on a huge scale. France was taken and it looked like England would be next to fall.
The Germans tried to bomb England and other parts of Britain into submission. London was badly hit. Coventry was just about turned into a hole in the ground. The bullying of the British people in this way, however, backfired.
The British resolve to stand firm against the odds strengthened. Instead of the bombing raids driving a wedge between the British people and their government, as hoped by Hitler, the opposite actually happened. Those aces who flew Spitfires and Hurricanes became legends.
The RAF won The Battle of Britain for the British people. Among those who fought to save Britain in its darkest hour, there were Polish fighter pilots who knew German fighter pilot tactics all too well and could counter them, there were also Australians and New Zealanders.
The Japanese in declaring war on China found themselves at odds with the USA. The Americans were preventing the Japanese from getting much needed supplies for their war effort. The British were also not being very cooperative.
Attacking Pearl Harbor was a gamble that might have paid off for them. The same can be said for their attack upon Singapore. If the Japanese could kick the British and the Americans out of the South-East Asia region then they might well be able to claim a large chunk of South-East Asia. This chunk might even include Australia.
One of the biggest mistakes made by the Germans during the 2nd World War was the invasion of Russia. Strangely enough, Stalin didn't see it coming. Thus the Germans made great progress into Russia to begin with but this could not last. German planes couldn't handle the Russian winter.
Many of the German soldiers were not properly attired at first for the Russian cold and they suffered from the lack of proper clothing. Military defeats in Russia coupled with the USA coming into the war on the side of Britain meant defeat for Germany was inevitable.
By the way, Joseph Stalin can be seen as a bully on the same level as Hitler. In the 1930s, Stalin was responsible for the deaths of millions of Russians. His misplaced belief that Hitler would not invade his territory also cost lives. He was also into racial purification.
There was, in fact, no military reason for the Germans to invade Russia. The Russians had been providing the Germans with much needed crude oil. In taking on the Russians, Hitler had put this supply of crude oil at risk. It just didn't make sense to Stalin that Hitler would do so. Apparently, Stalin had not taken Hitler's book, Mein Kampf to heart. In it was Hitler's undying hatred for all things Communist.
The USA not only had the man power but also the industry behind the military to assure victory. By 1944, the resources of both Germany and Japan were near to exhaustion.The invasion of France by the allies in June of 1944 meant that the war could not be won easily by the Germans.
Many Germans, seeing the writing on the wall, wanted to surrender to the allies but Hitler would not allow this. The German people were bullied into keeping the fighting going. If Hitler's Germany could not win in the end then it had to be destroyed.
There was propaganda urging the German people on to victory that would surely never come. There were also members of the Hitler Youth movement quite happy to spy on their own relatives including their own parents. If someone spoke against Hitler or in any way talked against the continuing war effort they would be in trouble.
Past mistreatment of Russians added to the fear pervading Germany. Would the Russians seek revenge? Here the answer was a resounding yes.
The war ended with a whimper and the death of Hitler for Germany. It ended with two massive explosions for Japan. Thanks to two atomic bombs dropped by the Americans, the atomic age began.
The Polish fighters who had fought so bravely to keep Britain free from German occupation were, in a sense, betrayed by the British. The people of Poland were expecting liberation after being dominated so long by the Germans. Instead the Russians swooped in and took control of Poland. Neither the British nor the Americans lifted a finger to stop this happening. It wasn't until the end of the Cold War that the Polish people would be finally in charge of their own destinies.
During the occupation of Poland by the Communists, rogue radio stations broadcast American Country and Western music to annoy the authorities and to cry out for freedom. It was a way the Polish people had of thumbing-up their noses at the bullies who had taken over their country. There were of course penalties of a severe nature if you were caught running such a station and so they tended to be mobile affairs.
During this period there were Poles who developed their own versions of Country and Western music in their own language because they had gotten a real taste for it. No doubt there are still a few Polish Country and Western bands around today.
Since 2005 the right of women to wear bikinis on Australian beaches in summer has been challenged by radical Muslims. This right should be and needs to be defended.
Bullies Burn Books!
Denying people their own thoughts and their own way of being is a form of bullying that is quite old. There is also the denying of the sharing of the thoughts, feelings and knowledge of others as set down in books.
The burning of books was practiced by the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. It was also practiced during the reign of Henry the VIII of England even after he had made his kingdom over into a Protestant kingdom. For a long time bibles in the native tongue of the people were not tolerated and those who printed such books or saw to their distribution could be caught and burned as heritics. Of course the books also went up in flames.
There were advantages to having The Bible in Latin only that the Catholic authorites and the authorities of the early official Protestant Church in England were not willing to easily give up. Since very few people understood Latin, there was the issue of control. If basically only the clergy understood the meaning of the words in the bible then the population of the faithful simply had to believe that the clergy were continually steering them in the right direction.The Church teachings could not be judged by the common folk based on what was actually in the bible.
It was under King James the First of England and the Sixth of Scotland that an official bible in a common language was approved for the people of Britain.
It was Martin Luther who was one of the first to see a need for a bible in a common language and do something about it. English scholar John Wycliffe also believed that the bible should be translated into a common language and also did something about it..
In the 1930s the Nazis burned the books they disapproved of in open bonfires for all to see. They began doing this in Germany. Later, during the 2nd World war, they had private as well as public libraries destroyed in countries of occupation such as Poland. A Polish friend of mine had her family library destroyed by German thugs. Since her father was quite the scholar it would have been an impressive library.
In the 1950s there were comic book burnings in the USA. The population, whether they knew it or not, was being severely controlled because of in part the Cold War. Book burnings were common enough in Russia from the 1930s onward. There were also record burnings. In the 1960s in the USA there were BEATLES records put to the fire.
Today it is most difficult to burn books as a means of keeping them out of the public eye. Many are now in e-book format as well as paper which complicates the issue. It is also most difficult to kill off any form of music that happens to be around. This, of course, is a very good thing.
So Who Has Never Dreamed of Going From being Banner to The Hulk?
Bullies at School
Just about every kid has experienced bullying at school. Just about every adult has memories of having been bullied at one time or another at school when a kid.
It can get way out of hand when the kid being bullied has easy access to a gun and sees killing his tormentor or tormentors as the best way out of the situation he or she happens to be in. Hence you are more likely to have guns going off in an American school as opposed to a school in Australia. In Australia it is far more difficult for a young person to lay hands on such a weapon.
Of course making guns harder to come by isn't the complete answer. As for why someone should be picked on in the first place, the reasons are numerous from the color of the victim's hair, to their height, to possibly their sexual orientation to their religion.
A recent documentary on the Bible belt in the USA has a young girl being picked on by both teachers and students because she and her parents were Jewish. I thought that was rather ripe and on the nose since in the USA you're suppost to have freedom of worship.But that was just one school and possibly because of the documentary they have since cleaned up their act.
What can the person being bullied do about the bully? Well, a young lad I knew decided to take up martial arts. One day, when a bully larger than him tried to hassle him, he flipped the guy. So he had the bully on his back where he could have been easily hurt. To his credit my young friend simply walked away. Since that day he has not picked on by anyone at the school. The bully even wanted to make friends with him.
Bullies are often kids who have been bullied themselves and think therefore that this is the right way to behave. Ultimately, they have to be shown that better behaviour is more likely to get them respect and create for them a proper network of friends. Bullies often have hangers on who are there to see the action. I reckon they are as bad if not worse.
We know from records that Adolf Hitler was considered a miracle child by his mother because he survived babyhood whereas his siblings had not. His father was said to have been harsh with him. At school it was said he brooded a lot and what mischief he got up to he got up to on the sly.
Franz Kafka, on the other hand, was despised as a weakling by his father but, instead of turning into a bully, he became a writer. He died young and so missed out on being part of the Jewish holocaust. His writing, though despised by the Nazis and the Communists, have managed to survive. Nowadays Kafka's writing can be found in just about any campus library in Australia if not the USA and Britain.
The Church has been both Good and Bad
The Church for and against Bullying
Christianity has had a mixed history when it comes to bullying and what is happening in the world today is just as mixed. Too often people have been forced into becoming Christians for political rather than religious reasons.
There are plays written and performed in the Middle Ages that make this forced conversion quite clear. Hidden within them are pagan rituals and beliefs that still had strong meaning to the people.The fact that the writers of the plays had to hide pagan notions they still believed in within the confines of what, on the surface, looked to be Christian works says a lot about Christianity at the time.
This indicated that some of the people of Britain were forced into becoming Christians by their overlords. Their overlords did this because becoming Christian was the in thing in Europe and there was a stage when only someone converted to Christianity could marry or make alliance in some other way with one of the big power brokers of the age.
Excommunication became the most powerful tool in the Medieval Church. When a king is excommunicated he loses all right to rule in the eyes of the Church because he is no longer a Christian.
There was much bloodshed caused by the crusades.Men took up the cross and the sword to go fight the heathen for the holyland. In the end, the crusades came to naught. Many men lost their lives in the dream of making the holyland wholey and forever Christian. This, however, was not to be.
The enmity created by the crusaders between Christians and Muslims, however, remains to this day. The holy-land is still a divided places and there is still fighting going on even though, nowadays, the fighting has little if anything to do with Christianity.
The Conquistadores in the New World burned anything they found to be pagan and so a lot of information about certain old civilizations went up in smoke. From time to time either the Catholics or the Protestants have burned books that they have interpreted as being against their version of Christianity. This sort of burning first dates back to Roman times.
There was much converting of the heathen to Christian belief by the British in the 19th Century. Certainly it was seen as the duty of the various Churches to convert the Australian Aborigines.
Of late, the Catholic Church has come under fire in Australia for the mishandling of cases involving priest and their misconduct toward children in their care. There has been cover-ups. This has also happened in the USA and in Ireland. In Australia the Church of England also doesn't have a clean record when it comes to this sort of thing.
On the plus side some Christians have, for centuries, warred against poverty and also slavery. The war against slavery might well have been inspired by the Bible becoming available in the common languages of the general public.Certainly there was a movement against slavery that began in the 18th Century and spread.
In Australia The Salvation Army and Saint Vincent DePaul do great work in helping the needy. The Red Cross is also an organisation that is praiseworthy.
BOTH LEGAL AND ILLEGAL DRUGS CAN BE DANGEROUS
Bullies and the Drug Scene
Kids have been known to escape their tormentors by taking drugs. When it comes to enhancing brain function for tests at school, certain drugs have also been used for this rather dubious purpose.
The trouble with kids and adults escaping from the world via the use of drugs is that the real world is still there and you must eventually come back to it. What's more, drugs are not a very good solution to life's problems and the end result is too often a life cut short.
Kids have been bullied out of their lunch money by other kids who are addicted to one drug or another. Here you have two victims for the price of one.
Political Correctness that is not so Correct
Governments Dealing with Bullying
Generally speaking, governments, even in the world today, have a poor track record of dealing successfully with bullying in the work place. Political correctness has failed to properly address racism or sexism.
When Political Correctness tries to deal with racism and sexism it often 'protects' certain groups while leaving others out in the cold for the wolves to feed upon.
As Franz Kafka often pointed out, rules and regulations can make for tunnel vision when it comes to governments and issues affecting workers.
In my introduction to my novel Desk Job I outline the problems not easily solved by governments because of this tendency not to see the whole picture and thus protect all of the innocent.
Set in the 1990s, Desk Job is still quite relevant for today's office jockey since I doubt if much has really changed. Political correctness is pretty much cyclic and returns, every once in a while, to try to do some good. It not doubt still fails in its mission:
Introduction to Desk Job
There were good times to be had doing desk work in the 1990s. There were promotions well deserved and most welcome friendships. There was also rampant looniness.
The dark underbelly I allude to in this novel doesn't touch everyone. Some office personnel coasted along nicely and were unaware of the dangers lurking around them. Others learned their lesson from one or two traps set for them and were fine after that. There were enough people, however, who suffered in silence or complained to superiors incapable of listening to their pleas.
Do remember that Desk Job is fiction. None of the characters in my drama are real even though they come out of those days not so long ago.
Also remember that some people did benefit for a while from enforced political correctness. The office girls who were tired of fending off advances from older male employees or listening to rude remarks from would-be office comedians may have thought they had entered a golden age of office relations. The person new to the country may have felt better protected from putdowns and the man or woman with a slight disability found they could aim higher in terms of employment.
When a pendulum swings too much one way, however, it will inevitably swing back. In the late 1990s and the early years of the 21st Century, those who were seen as benefiting unjustly from what were prevailing conditions came under fire along with the innocent.
Desk Job is set in the mid-1990s when political correctness in government and in some private companies was all the go in Australia. Desk Job is somewhat an exaggeration of everything that went on back then. Even so, real people had a difficult time from discrimination or what came to be known, back then, as reverse discrimination.
It is impossible to know how much racism and sexism were around before the universities, government, and private industry turned the whole thing on its head. Certainly, by turning the whole thing on its head, what was achieved amounted to a swap of new victims for old. Was it an even swap? I would say no but that is only my opinion.
Regardless, the war against racism and sexism concocted by academics and carried out by the government and some private companies did not result in either the elimination of racism or sexism. These twin evils simply saved themselves by changing direction.
By the end of the 1990s, political correctness had become a bad joke. To this day, it is still practiced in some government and private offices. The workers in general now know how best to get along with one another without its destructive use and influence. In other words, it is still there, frozen in space and time, ready to be put into action a second time when someone thinks that it is needed. Like some old atomic missile, it sits in its silo waiting for the appropriate button to be pushed. If it is ever launched, God help us all.
This is the End...My Friend...
Bullying is a big topic and many a fine writer has laid claim to having been bullied at one time or another. Sometimes a joke goes too far and slips into the realm of bullying.
Sometimes what appears to be a harmless initiation can go terribly wrong. Kids, for example, have died from alcohol poisoning from being forced to drink too much alcohol.
By the way, the KKK is still functioning in our world and slavery is not completely dead.
I hope I have provided some insights into this topic for some of my readers.
More by this Author
Lies, distortions , Australian people, Cronulla riot, Children harassed, The Book Thief, reverse racism, the blame game, Islamic State, Muslim Youth, Melbourne, Sydney, Seachange, bikinis, Western.
The Jazz Age, Josephine Baker, Ken Burns, The League of Nations, radio, the gramophone, Kangaroo, Ragtime, Ku Klux Klan, Elvis Presley, World War One, The Saint, The Great Gatsby, Pollyanna, Paris.
Standing tall and one person making a difference has long been part of the American identity. In propaganda terms it has been useful. Can one person really make a difference? John Wayne and Vietnam.