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Compliments of jimbrickett via Flickr

What distinguishes leaders of resistance is their willingness to stand apart.

Their behavior is 180 degrees from the concept of mobbing – in which half the people are delighted to bully another person, and the remainder hide behind the bully’s skirt. Members of resistance are nothing like bystanders who stand to the side and watch the horror unfold.

[In the spirit of groupthink] sheep mindlessly comply with what the loudest voice propagates. History has shown that the majority accepts their submission in silence.

Resistance leaders endure suffering, ostracism, and even the loss of friends. Energized by a passion to work for what’s right, they are able to think outside the box of themselves. They are in a word courageous. People who exemplify this virtue include Gandhi, Raoul Wallenberg, and many others.

Perhaps the courageous simply don’t have the apathetic/sadistic tendencies of others. It’s difficult to break them, in contrast to the mealy mouthed masses who shudder at any hint of retaliation. The Resistance leaders are fighters until the very end. They are their own person (and not the property of someone else), possessing an immutable moral compass and the social gallantry to sacrifice for others.

Those who choose to be clarions of freedom are unafraid to stand down evil. As Namie notes, the bullied are fair, empathetic, principled people who refuse to bow. They eschew short term social position for the sake of following their conscience; they realize what matters, and they expand their efforts in that area.

I think resistance offers a multitude of lessons for young people. More inclusion of these brave souls in the curriculum (and the impact on their countrymen) would provide a panacea against bullying and a platform for civil behavior. Case studies of what differentiates them (from the rest of us) can foster the next generation of “freedom riders.”

Related blog postings:

Modern day resistance
Defiance in the face of opposition
Non-violent militancy to mend fences
In your face activism
The makings of a movement

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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