Written by: Maria Gabriela Figueroa, Art Professor, University of Buenos Aires
“Don’t let the iron in you get rusted” Mother Teresa
…To fight against bullying, it is essential that the victim neither suffers in silence nor hides behind his or her fear. Talking to responsible adults (parents, teachers, headmasters) that may be able to step in and take action to support and protect the victim, teach him how to defend and wipe away abusive and aggressive conducts becomes vital.
Experts say that in the institutions where bullying has occurred the best thing to do is to gather interdisciplinary work teams and force the aggressor to undergo treatment together with his or her family. In the same vein, the victim’s family need be accompanied and provided with verbal and gesture strategies that would allow them to defensively stand up against the teaser.
Now, it is of utmost importance to tackle bullying peacefully and efficiently through prevention, theoretical and practical civic virtues education among children and youth, and the watchful eye of adults and classmates so as to detect and report any bullying behavior in order to cope with it through non-violent means. In this respect, the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi as to lex talionis are worth recalling: “An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind.”
To sum up, the seriousness of harassment at school and the different forms of violence embodied in bullying constitute a blatant violation of Human Rights and of the Constitutional Rights of different countries around the world.
Aiming at contributing to wipe away such a terrible and widespread phenomenon, the World Academy of Arts, Literature and Media (WAALM), in one of its heartfelt humanistic projects, decided to launch an international campaign against bullying under the motto “Be a victor, and not a victim” and “One song, one message, many voices”. The song “Walking in style” is meant to encourage bravery, strength and optimism to victims of bullying and to create social awareness so that it can be detected and treated properly. This song, which is performed by talented artists from twenty different countries and four continents, was envisioned by two great masters: Dr. Mosi Dorbayani (Lyricist) and Loghman Adhami (Principal composer).
In line with the spiritual strength of the music and lyrics of such a magnificent song, the title of this article is inspired in the poem “Invictus”, written in 1875 by William Ernest Henley, lying in bed in hospital. The last verses of the poem pray as follows:
“I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”
In the words of Dr. Dorbayani, we would say: “Be a victor, and not a victim”. This implies, as already noted, that those suffering from bullying are urged not to suffer in silence but to trust in adults and competent authorities, to seek for help and never and ever fall in the dramatic and hideous trap of suicide. All those suffering from this type of harassment should remember that there are many people who love them, that whatever the teasers may say is not true and that such malicious behavior is driven by wrong ideas.
But it may be even further relevant that the victims of bullying know that they have resources to overcome such abuses. In other words, to walk through life with dignity and heads held high, to “Walking in style” no matter everything around seems hard and ugly, to never stop believing in themselves and to peacefully and tenaciously fight to set them free.
I am fairly confident that the power and beauty of this song, from its music, lyrics and multiple versions, would help bullying victims identify with it and get the strength and certainty to face bullying.
Finally, I will quote two more examples of the best way out of bullying, which closely relate to the concepts illustrated in “Walking in style”: the movie called “Ciberbully” (Charles Binamé, USA, 2011) and the message delivered by American motivational speaker Lizzie Velázquez in her speech “Brave starts here”, delivered at TEDx Austin Women last December 5, 2013: http://www.aboutlizzie.com/#!lizzies-story/ccm8
Here are some of her most inspiring words of wisdom:
“Am I going to let the people who called me a monster, define me. Am I going to let the people who said, kill it with fire, define me. No. You are the one that decides what defines you. I used the people who were telling me that I couldn’t do this – to motivate me. I used their negativity to light my fire to keep going, use that.”
As you may well imagine, in Velásquez’ words “fire” means illuminating energy, passion and strength of the soul capable of turning negative criticism into intelligence, humor, cunning and peaceful resistance that will not only enable a way out of bullying but also let our projects, goals and dreams come true.
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