I received this wonderful story from Vivi from the band Mental Monky Ballet from Sweden. It shows how we have to think hard about how far we have to go to deal with bullying issues. Thanks to Vivi for the submission. ~ Alan
Civil Disobedience – Breaking the law
Would you ever stand up in a group of people and say; I know we have rules, but they don’t seem to work. Maybe they work for you and some other people, but not for me and these other guys here.
How far are you prepared to go to make the rules work better? Would you risk losing friends, losing benefits, losing your job or even get hurt physically?
My name is Vivi and I’m the songwriter and lead vocalist of the Swedish alternative/rock/pop band Mental Monky Ballet. When I wrote our song “Breaking The Law” from our most recent EP of the same name in November last year, despite what it might sound like, I didn’t feel like a rebel at all. I just felt fresh air in my lungs. We breathe in and out and the air changes every time. Nothing is ever the same the next moment, and the question is: in what way do we want this change to happen?
To me, the song title refers to a form of civil disobedience, but maybe not as much as the one that most of us are thinking about when the expression is used.
Most of the time, I believe, we think of events performed in public and in front of the world media such as Ghandi’s non-violent, revolutionary civil disobedience in India a long time ago. A more recent example is Pussy Riot in Russia screaming out their message in a sacred church, maybe in an effort to make their message louder. One other perfect example is the civil rights movement in the USA showing incredible bravery against racial issues, just some decades ago. They were all making a strong statement towards their government which they thought were unjust.
This is what you read about when you Google civil disobedience.
What if we put exactly the same actions in a much smaller context, like a school for instance.
This is a true story and a beautiful example of fighting injustice against a stronger power.
The story took place in a school of very young kids, located in a suburb of Sweden’s second largest City called Göteborg (Gothenburg). As it often happens, one girl in one of the classes couldn’t play with the other children, simply because they wouldn’t let her. Why? Because she was a bit chubby and acted a bit different.
However, there was another little girl who wasn’t bullied, and she strongly felt that this was wrong. Ironically, she was equally chubby but had somehow gained some kind of status with the other kids. She deliberately and happily started to play with the bullied girl and she also, on several occasions, asked the others why they exclude her. Anna was the girl who stood up for her classmate, and now plays keys and guitar in our band. She was seven years old at the time, and this trait of hers still burns bright today.
This is a very common, and for some people quite insignificant story, and not really food for media. It’s something that would completely drown in the stream of horrible news of rape, shootings and incest.
Yet, these incidents, often taking place over a long period of time, could completely ruin a person’s whole life. We’re looking at years of panic attacks, self loathing, eating disorders and all kinds of psychological and physiological issues that often occur. Sometimes they are carefully hidden but still extremely painful, and sometimes they are out in the open needing all sorts of treatments, successful or not, not to mention the increased risk of suicide for teenagers and beyond.
For a kid, the class is the government, the schoolyard is the battlefield, and the corridor is the supreme court. Imagine what it means to have at least one person taking the risk standing up for you.
I believe there are innumerable amounts of heroes out there, visible or not. I also believe that we all should break the law or change the rules once in a while, when we feel that they don’t work anymore – in society as well as in the small group.
Learn more about Vivi’s band at http://www.cyberpr.biz/clients/3300