Here’s a movie on the must see list for all who agonise over the culture of bullying and the immediate question of intervention in Libya. This review of Hævnen (In a better world) (Danish – English subtitles) gives some background: Kids learning violence – Eureka Street.
Recent viral video clips of schoolyard bullying remind me of my eight-year-old bespectacled self quoting Gandhi as the local bully shaped up for his fun. I also remember well how, some two years later, I momentarily snapped out of my pacific stance and the bully very quickly found himself bleeding and stunned on the asphalt. I was never bothered again, and I sometimes like to think that was my true “turning the other cheek” moment – asserting my equal worth with those who believed physical might was right. On the other hand, I still think I let some standard down and I feel ambivalence about this boyhood episode.
Bottom line – managing one’s response to violence is not simple. Whether it’s working out how to respond to the murderous Quadaffi’s of this world (but why not other state sanctioned bullies like Mugabe?) or the more domestic kind, we who preach and practice non-violence somehow have to steer through this ambiguity if we are to retain our sanity.