The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Thoughts on Bullying

Bullying has been gaining a lot of attention over the past few years.  The rise of social media has brought with it an increase in bullying.  In past years young people could be bullied at school for five or six hours a day for five days a week.  Now, however, cyber-bullying means that young people can be the target of bullying 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Of the solutions put forward, many suggest that there is a need for political leaders to act in some way.  More legislation, more education, more of what politicians do – make decisions.  I for one do not have any magic solutions but I do have an observation to make about how political leaders might act.  The greatest contribution that political leaders and politicians generally could make towards helping to reduce bullying is to stop acting the way they do.

Politics seems to bring with it an acceptance, maybe even an encouragement of bullying behaviour.  How often do we see on our television news scenes of one politician or another deriding, often using derogatory language, a politician of another political faction.  It seems to come with the territory.  If you are of Party Alpha then you must automatically denigrate, humiliate and attack those in Party Omega.

Of course, this is not confined to politicians.  The media itself focuses on these bullying moments and may, by doing so, actively encourage the behaviour.  Even more, the media can, in unscrupulous hands, bully its readership.  the current Australian election campaign is a perfect example of this.  The media Barron and tycoon, Rupert Murdoch owns a number of Australian newspapers.1  In the run up to the election many of his front-page headlines have been bullying the Australian voter into voting against the Labor Party led by Kevin Rudd.2  Hardly unbiased news reporting.

At a global level nation states have been bullying people around the world for centuries.  Throughout the 18th and 19th Centuries and continuing into the 20th Century European nations bullied the indigenous peoples of Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand and the Americas.  Following World War II the British, French and Americans bullied Pacific Island peoples with their nuclear weapons testing programmes.

State led bullying has not abated in the 21st Century.  As I write this the US is planning strikes on Syria seemingly having learnt nothing from the invasion of Iraq in 2003.3

No wonder children and young people grow up with minds attuned to bullying and behaviours that state “I’m gonna show you who’s boss!!”  They learn it from their parents, from their politicians, from their nation’s foreign policy.

1. Via News Corp Rupert Murdoch owns at least 16 newspapers including The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Courier Mail, The Advertiser and over 100 community suburban newspapers.
2. The most notorious of these headlines appeared on the front page of the Daily Telegraph on 5 August 2013: “Finally you now have the chance to…KICK THIS MOB OUT” – those last four words taking up 1/4 of the space on the front page.
3. I know that some would claim that the Syrian government is bullying it’s own people thus justifying the strike.  No!  One playground bully bullying another does not make it anything other than bullying.

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