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Friday, September 14, 2012

"Stick and stones can break my bones but words can really hurt me!"

I read about the world's ugliest woman. Yes, she isn't pretty; but the comments about her take ugliness to do the new level. In a Youtube clip about her, people called her "monster", "it", and even said she should kill herself. I mean, seriously?? She's no beauty queen, but why should she kill herself because of how she looked? And most importantly, what right do one has to talk in such gruesome way to her?

The rise of internet has unfortunately gave birth to trolls, who freely throw insult to others cloaked in anonymity. It is understandably more convenient to say bad things to other over the net, than to hurl it face to face with no backup or anonymity at all. Reading comments, say in the Yah**, would make you think that almost all the active internet users are either illiterate or a bunch of savages. Free speech? Maybe. But what about consequences?

The most damaging consequences in hate speech/verbal bullying/trolling is the emotional impact. Broken bones can be mended easily, but broken heart is not that easy. Nor can self confidence, in that matter. What seemed to be a harmless effortless insult can be something damaging instead. In Libya this week, it costs lives. In Tyler Clementi case, it costs life. In any bullying case, it costs life: a life where one has to live with destructed self confidence because of words of others is by all means no life at all.

A writing in ( stated: "Bacile is an idiot willing to toss fuel on smoldering embers – and then expresses surprise when it erupts into flames." This brings us to the other side of the consequences. Those who dare to speak must be willing to accept the results of their speech. Go and insult a man's momma in front of him and get ready for a good punch in the face. Tell a woman she look like a hag and get ready for a good sharp slap. Tell parents that their son/daughter is trash and get ready to see a gun pointing at your head (ok, I'm exaggerating. But you get my drift). If you pay consequences for your words which were spoken in public/person to person, why should words spoken in the internet (albeit in the cloak of anonymity) be different?

Some might argue that people need to stop being so sensitive and get offended easily; and bully victims deserve the terrible treatment because they are weak. But why blame others? Why not just restrain ourselves from saying hurtful things? What's the benefit of that anyway? You can't get prettier by calling someone ugly, nor becoming a rocket scientist by calling someone stupid. And if you can't resist the urge to say hurtful things, prepare to stand up and accept the consequence.

We live in a less than ideal world, a savage place where one might intentionally hurt other just for one's vile amusement. Which is odd because no other animal hurt their own species only for fun. But humans also have what other species don't have: kind words and warm smile. The world may be less than ideal, but we can make it a better place to live simply by respecting others. As The Queen in Lewis Carrol's Alice said: "Curtsey while you're thinking. It saves time." For all its worth, I hope one manage to speak something nice after thinking it first ;).

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