I had the pleasure of interviewing anti-bullying activist and advocate, Manwar Khan.
Manwar, 37 felt the urgent need to initiate his, 'Don't be a bystander' campaign rallies across the province of Alberta soon after trying in vain to intervene and stop the 2012, December 28th deadly beating of John Hollar ,29 on the Edmonton LRT by Jeremy Newborn, 32.
During the incident, Manwar had called on bystanders on the train to intervene and help him stop the beating with no success. His last resort was to pull the alarm on the train notifying LRT authorities of the deadly situation.
As a result, Manwar was recognized as a hero for his actions on that day by the local media.
During the interview, Manwar proposed the following questions which would allow him to present his best insights to the bystander problem.
Manwar believes that bystanders have the powerful potential to stop bullying when it occurs. And his message is a simple one - do not be a bystander, speak up, get help. His purpose is one of spreading awareness of this message.
The bystander problem is especially pervasive in countless incidents of High-School bullying across North America. When bystanders silently watch bullying occur they are not protesting the injustice but rather their silence sends a strong message that they approve of the bullying (whether intentional or not). This reality can be summed up best by the following quote,"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Manwar does not suggest that we alone courageously put ourselves at risk by joining a fight that we witness. The fear of becoming involved in the bullying, and thus becoming bullied is one that lead too many bystanders to not intervene. But the problem occurs when the number of bystanders far out number the bully and thus the bullying can be immediately stopped, but it is not stopped.
Too many times crowds of people fail to realize their power in being united to stop violence because individually they are all too scared to be the one to initiate action.
Other times, bystanders justify their inaction thinking, 'it's not my business', 'maybe they deserve it', 'I don't know enough to intervene', 'I don't want to take the wrong side.'
But the goal should not be one of judgement, it should be one of stopping the violence from occurring. We can still call the police on our cell phones, or ask others to help report it or stop the violence from continuing on.
We need to be the example we wish to see in others if we were to be the ones unjustly being hurt by someone. What would we as individuals want others to do if someone was beating us, and dozens of people witnessed our demise? What if it were one of our loved ones in the same situation; our children, our brothers and sisters, our friends?
And we also need to consider how would it affect us personaly if we could have save a human life, and we simply did nothing?
I believe there needs to be more awareness met with much discussion and dialogue. The bystander problem is a complex one that needs to be addressed with constructive criticism, and debate concerning proposed solutions.
Whether or not you agree if what I have had to say, the fact is doing nothing is not a solution to the bullying problem.