The reason for bringing this up is neither to compare it with the current events nor to show today's children how to react to persecution--far from it--but it may illustrate how a child can end up reacting to an insult out of desperation, and in a reflex manner, even though that reaction might not have been in accordance with the morals infused into his upbringing.
At 11 or 12 years of age, a mere child should not be insulted, beaten, humiliated or harassed because of his religion, but this was a common occurrence to many Baha'i children growing up in Egypt in the 1950s and 1960s. I have been subjected to such treatment on a regular basis, not only by some of my classmates, but at times by certain teachers entrusted to protect me. The worse offender was a 'Sheikh' who taught us the Islam class, who would frequently kick me out of the class, then stops by my father's office on his way home after school to report to him that I neglected to attend his class and that I was a rebel-rouser.
Front row second from right (book on his lap) is me
A young student, after being subjected to such repeated episodes of abuse, can get to a point to think "enough is enough!"
During a morning period in between classes, one of my classmates whom I have known to be the son of Muslim fundamentalist whose father belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood movement stuck his face right into mine and shouted: "You Baha'i...son of a Baha'i...son of a dog." At that exact moment my brain came to a standstill, and without any hesitation I hit him right into his face with my clinched fist, breaking his nose and breaking my hand at the same time. Blood was gushing out of his nose...I was in shock...he was too.... I believe that was the only time in my life when I ever hit anyone--that was not in a self defense situation. Needless to say, that traumatized and embarrassed student never bothered me again, and I had to be in a cast for the next six weeks.
My great concern that day was not what happened to him or to me, but rather what would I tell my father, because I knew that he would not have approved of that action, and that he would then, for sure, believe the Sheik's stories. When I went home after school with a broken hand, my story was that I fell while playing basketball...and there was no discussion! I thought at the time that this was OK as white lie. Until now, no one in my family knew the real story...but I guess it is time to tell the truth even though my parents are not with me any longer, but perhaps they will hear this where they now live--in eternity!