Sunday, January 1, 2017

How do you define "Harassment" and "Bullying"?

I think bullies are horrible people. I think harassing others is wrong. The concept of knowing these things are wrong is easy. But sometimes, as bad as bullying and harassing are, the reality of what is being done, the true horror of what is happening falls outside these words we use too easily.

Maybe we need a new word.

When you bully someone to the point where they take their own lives - it seems like "just" calling it bullying isn't enough. When you torture a family, one that has lost so much already, the magnitude of the cruelty involved cannot possibly be explained with words like "harassment" and "bullying".

When I was little, a bully was the boy who threw a rock at me after promising me that he was going to hit me in the nose (and the little brat did!). Bully was the Egyptian girl who kept making nasty comments about Israel until one day, without even knowing I was going to do it, I began screaming at her.

Egypt had just attacked, I yelled at her. YOUR country attacked innocent people. On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. YOU! I yelled at her. Stop saying bad things about Israel! You sould be ashamed of yourself and your HORRIBLE country! Without thought or shame, I utterly humiliated and sent her running down the hall when I told people about her countries unethical and cowardly actions.

I had felt pity for her before - she was the only one, as far as I remember who stood against Israel in a school that was something like 20-30% Jewish. I intentionally avoided her until the day that her little jabs finally struck home. Israel was teetering on the edge, fighting for its life. I didn't stop crying and yelling until a teacher came over and put her arm across my shoulders and told me it was going to be okay, that Israel was going to fight and win.

I went to class and that Egyptian girl came in late and I refused to even look at her. Weeks later, the war had ended, Israel was victorious in that we'd surrounded "her" third army, retaken the Golan. I still could barely look at her. She made some sort of gesture and I accepted it for the peace offering it was, but she never tried to ridicule Israel in front of me again. I had, I thought to myself, out-bullied the bully.

Bullying was the girl who threatened to beat me up and so for days I would sneak out the side of the school and only later learned that she wasn't even waiting around to see if her threats had scared me (they did for a while...but they also got me two other friends who began walking with me).

When I eventually told my parents (or went home bleeding), they called the other child's parents. The child got punished, and the bullying ended. I guess I come from another time and another world. It seems as the world has gotten more sophisticated and more complicated, so too have the bullies.

Nowadays, bullies use the Internet and Facebook and humiliation. I have heard of appropriate and embarrassing images and even videos posted. I've heard of several cases in which people committed suicide rather than live with the shame and the pain.

The Internet can be a very cruel place - especially to those most vulnerable. Young people. People who have recently been hurt, people who are sick, desperate, poor. And, perhaps most of all, people who have lost someone they love and desperately wish there was a way to go back in time to before. I'm not sure where the line between bullying and psychotic cruelty is. I only know that Hamas has crossed that line yet again.

I saw two videos yesterday and today on YouTube. One has been removed "for violating YouTube's policy on harassment and bullying." The second is still there (actually, they are both still there, if you search hard enough - please don't).

The one that is still online is a 30 second "spoof" of a bunch of males sitting around dressed in what they want us to believe are Israeli uniforms.

Oron Shaul was a Golani soldier in an APC that exploded during the Tzuk Eitan war (Operation Protective Edge). Six other soldiers were confirmed dead and from most accounts, despite the Arabs stealing his body and dragging it back into Gaza, there is enough evidence to confirm that Oron died in the blast that killed the rest of the unit. And, if things couldn't be worse for his poor family, his father died a few months ago.

His mother lives with the nightmare of all Israeli mothers. Not able to believe her son is gone too, no grave to visit, no body to provide some measure of comfort and closure. It is a hell beyond anything most of us can imagine.

Into this picture, steps Hamas, As they have done so often in the past, they are now attempting to further destroy Oron's already-devasteted family by trying to hint he is still alive. In the video, one "soldier" is sitting in a wheel chair. The camera swings over the chair to make sure that we recognize it.

"A new year and the soldier Shaul is still away from his family," we are told. They are singing as the "soldier" claps his hands...this young man who is pretending to be an Israeli soldier, pretending to be Oron Shaul. If you look carefully, you'll see that his hands and arms are not scared at all - what are the chances that Oron could have been in a massive explosion that killed his 6 colleagues without burns or scars?

There is a cake on the table with candles. They are wishing him another year in Hamas captivity - the beginning of what would have been his third year in captivity...if he was alive. We know he is not. Our heads know that. It is our hearts that need the body to confirm but we know.

People like Motasem Dalloul (feel free to go to his YouTube channel and tell him how horrible he is, how his channel is filled with hate) could be termed "online bullies" but I prefer to call them wannabe terrorists, barbarians, cruel and inhumane and heartless individuals.

The first video, posted by Dalloul and others has not been removed (yet).

The second video was removed by YouTube, but continues to be available in some locations. It shows the actual image of Oron chained to a chair, frowning and trying to break free. Before him is a cake - the same idea. This time, a clown with the image of Bibi Netanyahu is superimposed on its face dances into the room blows out the candle.

Clearly, they are suggesting that Oron's future is in Bibi's hands and as the screen fades to black, in Hebrew and Arabic, we are told that the decision (presumably to free Oron and/or Oron's remains) rests in the hands of the Israeli government.

As with Gilad Shalit, it would be expected that a parent would do all in their power to demand the return of their son. It is the government's responsibility to determine what we can do. It could be anything from negotiating (and coming up with another stupid deal like releasing 1020+ terrorists for one soldier) to telling Hamas that this time, we won't deal.

Last time, we were relatively certain that Gilad Shalit was alive, at least. This time, we are relatively certain (if not more), that Oron Shaul is not. More, one of their demands is the release (again) of many terrorists who were released previously for Shalit and then simply went about launching more terror attacks (as expected) and so are Hamas is demanding their release again.

It comes as no surprise, nor can we fault, Oron's family for demanding that the government do something. His mother announced, "I am turning to you again, for a second time. I want to believe you. Present me with concrete evidence on the condition of Oron. We will turn over the country, and the world, to ensure that the deal [for his return] will be carried out.”

Read the words she says. "The condition of Oron" because she cannot say "Oron's death" and a promise, made more to Oron than anyone else. We will never forget you. We will turn over the world to bring you home. She wants Israel to bring her son home.

There are names for what Hamas is doing. Apparently YouTube thinks "bullying" and "harassment " can be used, but I don't think they are nearly strong enough.

Torture.

Cruel and barbaric psychological warfare come close.

Bullying? Harassment?

Really, YouTube?

That those videos are still there - more than a day after they were posted, is a great shame. YouTube should ban the videos - more, they should disable the accounts of those such as Motasem Dalloul.

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