The Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies applauds the establishment of the anti-bullying Project Brave Heart organisation and the Western Cape Education Department’s anti-bullying campaign, “Raise Your Voice – Not your Phone” as reported in the Argus 24.2.2019.
It is horrifying that despite a constitution clearly demanding that all are to be treated with dignity, the message is not being heard and more than three million children are bullied in SA each year. With the advent of social media cyberbullying has become an easy and cowardly way to attack other learners and sadly some of these attacks have led to teenage suicides..
The Bible commands us to protect the weak and if the word bully was known at the time, Prof Eisen, chancellor of New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary, has suggested, “Thou shalt not bully”would probably have been included as a commandment.
Our community has learnt two things in the 20th century. First: Never be a bully. If you see someone being bullied, whether by an individual or a group, go to his or her defence. Do not help to spread cyberhate against others. Second: Never allow yourself to be bullied. Stand up in your own defence. Don’t pick fights but don’t run away from them. Because you can be sure if the bully succeeds that day, against you, he will bully you again and will go after others, as well.
These campaigns will help to develop a more comprehensive programme to tackle the problem in the schools.
We shall be encouraging our community to wear red and blue on the 3rd May in support of the anti - bullying campaign.
We want our youth to grow up in a society where bullying whether physical or cyberbullying, is seen as the despicable, cowardly and contemptible act it is, a society where there is no place for hate.