A Universal Analogy

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June 21st 2009
Published: June 21st 2009
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An unfortunate, but ubiquitous, part of any school experience is the classic bully-loser situation. Guys might steal lunches, topple books, and/or physically assault the poor victim. Girls refine it to an even greater degree: backstabbing, gossiping, and/or completely ostracizing a person for no discernible reason. The victim is either left to defend themselves, which, upon seeing the effect of their torture, probably goads the bully on. Or they can suffer in silence, counting the days until there’s some sort of spontaneous conscience formed by the aggressor, or simply wait until graduation.
I think of this situation, and the sheer frustration that ensues, because of a friend of my roommates’ that unfortunately has entered my world. You think that we get over bullying after high school, but, as many could point out, that is most unequivocally untrue. This chick (and it takes all my effort not to call her something else) apparently took an instant disliking to me from the beginning, and I can see her passively aggressively sniggering and making sarcastic answers to whatever I tell her. To my roommates, however, she’s golden, and friendly, and fun. So when I choose to remove myself from the group to avoid her, I confirm her opinions in their minds- that I’m weird, unsociable… I don’t know, whatever this girl has gotten into her head about me.
I frankly just want to freaking PUNCH her. Or rip out her hair. Or destroy her laptop, conveniently placed right outside my door.
And then it dawns on me: what does this situation remind me of? Oppressor and oppressee? No recourse for action for the latter that won’t be met by retaliation from the former. Living under the iron fist of another entity that alternatively ignores you or treats you like dirt.
A friend of mine working at the center was trying to explain to me more of the situation here in Nablus. A couple years ago, during the height of the Second Intifada, it was especially bad. There were a million more checkpoints into the city, and Nablus was famously under a 100 day curfew, where people had generally less than two hours to be outside their homes, to get food and other necessities. My friend was going through the routinely hard process of crossing the checkpoint to his village, when the soldiers told him to strip down entirely and pass through security. He was asking them why they are making him do this, and one answered: “you are not people. You are animals.”
Upon punching this soldier, the other soldiers ran to beat him, kicking him in the stomach repeatedly and bashing their guns against his head.
So. You either suffer the humiliation in silence, or you fight back and make things worse for yourself. Everyone at some point has experienced the ostracizing or the bullying behaviour of someone; While I in no way compare this mild high school situation to that of the Palestinians, this analogy can perhaps allow a glimpse into the simmering frustration within this society.


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