Monday, January 17, 2005

My First Experiment in Sociology

When I was about nine or ten, I had a problem at home because I was being bullied by my brother. Now because both our parents worked at that time there was plenty of time and scope for after-school threats, punishments and general vexatious behaviour. It got to the stage where I wouldn't go home anymore and would hang out at my friend's place (even when he wasn't there!). It didn't help to tell my parents, because he would always have an alternate explanation, and they couldn't really take sides. One day I decided to try something really wacky. Regardless of what he did, I would only do nice things for him, and say good things about him. Bit by bit, all the bad behaviour stopped and within a year, he was not only being nice to me and helping me. He also stood up for me against bullies at school and got revenge on them on my behalf. The results taught me that you should never underestimate the power of being completely saintly when being especially and unfairly sinned against. However, my "status" as a member of the family was never in question - and this experiment would be a complete failure in a situation of being fostered, etc. if I was being used as a pawn in a messy divorce or other situation outside my control:- In that case it wouldn't matter much how saintly I behaved. To make an analogy with Israel/Palestine - since the status of palestine and the people who live there is undefined, It matters little how they behave if they are being used as a pawn (or political football) in the Arab/Israeli conflict.

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