A long, long time ago
In an Internet far, far away,
A Jedi was born out of the ashes of the gloat and dismay from his peers.
The Phantom Menace (1999) had been released two years before the events. Darth Maul was the biggest villain on-screen since Darth Vader in the Star Wars universe. His presence on screen was “impressive, most impressive.”
Thousands of fans wanted to emulate that power, precision, synchrony, and beauty of movement.
Many tried, but in 2002, Ghyslain Raza was the only one that did it in front of a recording VHS camera.
The camera stayed forgotten and silent for an entire year.
In 2003 a colleague bumped into the tape, showed it to a friend who digitized it, and then showed it to a third friend who made it viral by posting it on a website.
Youtube would only arrive two years later. Then, of course, this was a stone-aged internet compared with today, but still, the video got viral, before viral was a thing on the internet.
By the end of 2006, it was the most seen video ever with 900 million views.
The problem is that this was very negative for Raza.
Ghyslain was one of the first and one of the most famous cases of cyberbullying. He had to drop out of school, went to a psychiatric ward for children by the end of the year. He endured all kinds of harassment, not only from his colleagues but from the general public.
Raza’s family protected the shy kid from all of the spotlights that showed up, even prime-time tv shows that wanted to take a dip in the fame.
He won a court case against the colleagues that released the video, but that would never erase or change what happened before.
All he did was have fun in front of a camera. If it happened these days, it would be just another tik-tok, but at that time and with this proportions, Raza’s life was turned inside-out.
Like a true Jedi, he endured all of his “fear, anger, hate and suffering” and bravely resisted the dark side. Ghyslain built himself a name outside the internet. Three years later, by the age of 18, he would speak out in favor of the Canadian legislation on cyberbullying. Today, he is the president of the Patrimoine Trois-Rivières heritage society. He is no longer hiding from his past, and he is fighting to help kids that, like him, are victims of cyberbullying or negative attention.
This amount of pressure is inhumane. No human being should be subjected to it, much less a 15-year-old kid. Yet, Raza showed us the strength in him and the will to help others.
He was never Darth Maul.
He is more of a Qui-Gon Jinn, but this time, he won!
Make your purchase count.