School DisciplineThere’s a lot of concern about bullying in our schools and rightly so. Bullying is defined in a number of ways and includes ‘intentionally using words or actions to cause distress’ and ‘keeping someone out of a group’. Of course, nowhere is bullying better modeled than in our parliament where name calling and bullying are perfected. Even the Prime Minister is subjected to bullying; the sort that recently pushed her to alter her UN vote undermining her own convictions and relationship with Israel, and disappointing many freedom lovers who see more and more bullying winning the day against any sense of morality. Should recognition be given to a group of people who are intent on not recognizing another? Despite what our school policies say, it seems in the real world bullies always win.

Last Friday in Melbourne was another example of institutionalized bullying. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators hijacked the spirit of Christmas by rewriting carols, designed to spread ‘joy to the world’, with anti-Israel lyrics.

They took to the streets to spread their message of – ‘reconciliation, tolerance, hope?’ – No. They had a different Christmas message of accusation, punishment and intolerance – neither demonstrating in spirit or in truth. But they’re not the only bullies throwing their weight in the public sphere because bullying has become institutionalized.

I normally praise our Police force because they do have a difficult job and we appreciate that they really do want to ‘keep the peace’. But peace at all costs? I think not. At this demonstration there was a small group of counter protesters peacefully holding their banners in support of Israel’s right to defend itself from aggression. Unfortunately, their peaceful stand reaped the same result as Israel herself does. The Police had warned groups not to counter protest because the Pro-Palestinian group was known to be violent. That’s a bit like telling an abused wife not to anger her husband or he might lash out again; a worrying new peace keeping policy. And one in this small group of predominately ‘little old ladies’ was told not to move forward and hold her sign up because this would be considered ‘incitement to violence’. We trust this is not the new Police policy when people get attacked; guilty for incitement.

After such events in parliament and on our streets where bullying is normalized and institutionalized, we have to wonder what hope the poor children have in expressing a different opinion in our schools. We all know the way things are going, they certainly wont have a free opinion in the gender wars; the bullies clearly have the upper hand with that one.



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