Subject: artEAST Bullying
Date: March 18, 2015 11:38:28 PDT
To: Farshad Alamdari <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Starting several months ago, I have made repeated efforts to connect with you to inform you about serious problems within artEAST. My latest email alerting you to the abuse has been ignored along with my inquiries; including the question of what you intend to do about it. Even if your position within artEAST is non-executive, you hold the title of President and you have an obligation to act upon reports of misconduct.
artEAST is a public institution. One of the conditions for tax exemption is that membership is open to the public. The public grants that the organization has been awarded also come with the expectation that its practices are non-discriminatory and above board. This means that any official who abuses their position or contravenes rules and regulations is a threat to artEAST’s continued operations.
I don’t know the reason for your silence, but if it means that you decided to ignore the problems and stonewall me, then you are complicit in the bullying. You may also be seen as enabling activities that are detrimental to artEAST. If you do not intend to take any responsibility for resolving problems, nor refer me to someone who will, then you leave me with no other viable option than to take the matter to others; including the membership, the community, and the authorities.
Over the past two years, individuals within artEAST leadership have slandered and abused me using unscrupulous false allegations and deceit, refused to hear my side of the story, and violated my rights as a member. With my attempts at rational communication consistently ignored or dismissed, I shall now redirect my efforts to the public arena and engage anti-bullying organizations, government agencies, and others as I continue to protest leadership misconduct and the discrimination and mistreatment I have been subjected to. Legal action is also being considered.
No one can make you communicate, but you need to understand that the implications of inaction are most serious from now on. I have not yet succumbed to threats or blackmail, nor will I. It is only through respectful dialog that a better outcome for the organization can be achieved.
This will be the last time I implore you to consider your responsibilities, moral imperatives, and the best interests of artEAST. It is my hope that you will make the heroic choice to take a stand in favor of ethical behavior and democratic principles—and against bullying.
PS: With the risk of causing cognitive dissonance, this article; The Role of the Enablers, spells out some disconcerting and relevant truths.
February 11, 2015
I haven’t seen a response to my latest emails alerting you to the bullying problem, and my questions remain unanswered. The article attached below is very relevant to the situation. The accuracy with which the descriptions of adult bullying in the article match my own experiences is unnerving.
The abuse has been going on for almost two years and I have had more than enough. Without further delay, I need to know what you intend to do about it. Hopefully, we can work together towards a resolution.
Why is it so easy for an abuser to get away with it and so difficult for an abuse victim to be heard?
The typical serial bully is a Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde personality type (male or female) who has put considerable effort into establishing and maintaining a respectable and credible public persona. Bystanders may believe they know him well, that he is a genuinely righteous person, and that he couldn’t possibly be capable of the malicious behavior he is accused of. Unable (and probably unwilling) to imagine that they have been deceived, their logical conclusion is that the accuser is the antagonist, acting out inexplicable malevolence. With derogatory implications about his target’s mental state, lack of character, or foul motives, the abuser fuels this role reversal. Feigning moral indignation and playing the part of the victim, he encourages supporters to see the real victim, who is attempting to be heard, as the abusive one.
Dr. Vaknin explains: “Even the victim’s relatives, friends, and colleagues are amenable to the considerable charm, persuasiveness, and manipulativeness of the abuser and to his impressive thespian skills. The abuser offers a plausible rendition of the events and interprets them to his favor. Others rarely have a chance to witness an abusive exchange first hand and at close quarters. In contrast, the victims are often on the verge of a nervous breakdown: harassed, unkempt, irritable, impatient, abrasive, and hysterical.”
“Confronted with this contrast between a polished, self-controlled, and suave abuser and his harried casualties, it is easy to reach the conclusion that the real victim is the abuser, or that both parties abuse each other equally. The prey’s acts of self-defense, assertiveness, or insistence on her rights are interpreted as aggression, lability, or a mental health problem.”
Dr. Sam Vaknin, Narcissism by Proxy
Three cognitive strategies have been identified for when people deny, discount, or dismiss occurrences of abuse and for turning away from effective steps to stop it and hold abusers accountable:
|Reflexively dismissing all evidence as questionable, incomplete, misleading, false, or in some other way inadequate.|
|Using euphemism, abstraction, and other linguistic transformations to hide the abuse.|
|Turning away: ‘I’m not involved,’ ‘There is nothing I can do about it,’ ‘I have no authority, jurisdiction, power, or influence,’ ‘This is no concern of mine,’ etc.|
We’ll deny you membership — and keep your money.
Subject: Your Membership Application
Date: January 19, 2015 3:40:16 PST
Per our previous communication* with you on this matter, your membership application has been denied. Your fee has been refunded. Further application fees will be retained to cover administration costs.
artEAST Board of Directors
Checked by AVG – www.avg.com
Version: 2015.0.5645 / Virus Database: 4260/8960 – Release Date: 01/19/15
*“Per our previous communication…” is a useful phrase to imply reason when reason is lacking.
Addressing the President for help.
Subject: Fwd: Your Membership Application
Date: January 19, 2015 6:10:51 PST
To: Farshad Alamdari <email@example.com>
Are you aware that there is bullying within artEAST? I replied to the email, attached below [above], asking who sent it and on what grounds I am denied membership, but there has been no response and I doubt there will be. Bullies don’t give reasons.
The abuse has been going on for almost two years and I have had enough. Without further delay, I need to know what you intend to do about it.
The President doesn’t want to get involved.
It is the general unwillingness of bystanders to undertake any type of risks that bullies often rely upon in order to maintain their power.
Sent: Monday, January 19, 2015 6:21 PM
Cc: Karen Abel [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject: Re: Your Membership Application
Hi – sorry but I don’t get involve with artEAST operations and processes. PLease contact Executive Director, Karen Abel. Thanks
| Dr. Farshad Alamdari| artPATH LLC | 206.484.9888 |www.artpath.me |
“You have been treated with the utmost respect…”
[…on a few occasions.]
Sent: Tuesday, January 20
Cc: ‘Farshad Alamdari’; Mike Larson
Subject: RE: Your Membership Application
You have received numerous* written, verbal and email communications regarding your membership as well as your concerns of mistreatment. Your concerns were addressed* and the issue was closed. (letter attached). For the reasons stated in the previous letter (attached), the Board decided to not accept membership from you. That position has not changed, nor will it change.
You have been treated with the utmost respect and courtesy* by everyone you interacted with during visits in 2014 to the Art Center and Blakely Hall, including during your attendance at the members-only salon night to which you were not invited.
Further communication on the issue of membership will not be addressed,** and your attendance or attempt to attend members-only events, will be considered harassment of the artEAST staff and volunteers.
Informing the President of the board of directors.
Karen Abel dismisses my concerns in her latest email of January 20 by claiming that they have been addressed. That is not true, and in any case, it is not for her to decide. Not only have my concerns not been addressed; I have not even been consulted! As you can see exemplified by the letters Karen Abel attached to her email, the approach I have been subjected to has been one-sided, heavy-handed, and authoritarian. Reason and respectful communication are absent where, instead, attempts are made to bully me into submission.
It is important that you know the chronology of events for a correct understanding of some statements being made, in particular, attempts to incriminate me. From what I have gathered, it was the August 2013 board meeting that decided to deny me renewed membership, but as you can see by the letter sent to me after the meeting (and attached to Karen Abel’s email,) the decision was intentionally concealed. I learned about the decision in November 2013 and found it unacceptable for several reasons; I had not been represented at the meeting, no explanation whatsoever was given, and most importantly, because I had done nothing wrong. Without rational justification or due process, any decision to penalize any member is in opposition to the organization’s purpose and discriminatory, and therefore, cannot reasonably be considered valid. Note that later on, it is my subsequent protests and requests for an explanation that they used retroactively to justify the membership ban, again alluded to in Karen Abel’s email. This technique is sometimes called “baiting and bashing” or DARVO, wherein the victim’s reactions to the abuse are pointed to as the reason for the abuse.
Nowhere, in any of the communication I have ever received from artEAST, is there a clear statement of any wrongdoing on my part. This fundamental question is still not answered in Karen Abel’s latest email, where, in the absence of substance, she relies on vague innuendo and states unabashedly that the question shall remain unanswered, threatening with harassment charges if I don’t accept it. This behavior is hardly “the utmost respect and courtesy” she speaks of in her email. It is manipulative and malicious.
*Selective “honesty” is used to add credibility to a fundamentally dishonest and malicious endeavor.
It is true that I have received numerous communications from artEAST, as Karen Abel points out, but they have misrepresented me and my views as well as the actions of artEAST officials. Without more in-depth knowledge, you may not be able to distinguish the fabrications and distortions used by Karen Abel and Mike Larson, but the threats to intimidate me from responding and the directors’ policy of stonewalling are clear to see; with the latest examples explicit in the last paragraph of Karen Abel’s email. Some artEAST officials apparently feel entitled to deny me the right to request an explanation, challenge false statements, and refute or question malicious allegations. This pattern of controlling behavior and provocations followed by stonewalling is consistent with an intent to escalate conflict, not resolve it. artEAST officials have acted as jury, judge, and executioner in a case that looks a lot more like a personal vendetta, pursued by a few individuals using the organization as their private club, than an accountable application of clear and fair official policies. We must insist that directors and staff adhere to the organization’s rules. They are not entitled to arbitrarily make up their own.
Bullying and ostracizing an individual is never OK. It is cruel and hurtful, and it goes without saying; completely contrary to artEAST’s Core Values Policies. For these policies to carry any weight, the organization must have effective systems of accountability and reports of bullying must be taken seriously. I’m sure that you now can see why it is not realistic to suggest I contact Karen Abel, and also, why I would prefer that my correspondence with you is not shared. I reached out to you in the hope that you are a man of integrity and reason and because you are the highest authority in artEAST. I hope to find in you an ethically guided leader who will act in the best interest of the membership; recognizing the important values and principles that are at stake as well as artEAST’s reputation and eligibility for tax exempt status, which it depends upon for its operations.
I will not accept my case as closed simply because someone in a position of power with a vested interest says it is, and I hope that you won’t either. It is undeniable that the decision to terminate my membership was made secretly and against the rules, based on unverified information, without consulting with me, and without warning by people who, mostly, have never met me; and that there is a repeating pattern of artEAST officials engaging in hostile activities followed by evasion of accountability with stonewalling and threats.
I look forward to meeting you, but in the meantime, I am open to any questions or comments you might have. I do not compromise on my commitment to truthfulness and integrity.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Wherever bullying occurs, you will find small-minded, morally deficient individuals goading the bully. They participate in the abuse and become the bully’s minions.
“Abusing someone isn’t any fun if it’s only a party of two. With a crowd, there’s unlimited potential for drama. If it were just the abuser and her target, it wouldn’t be worth it to carry out a full-fledged hate campaign.”
From: The Role of the Enablers
To: “Karen Abel” <email@example.com>
Cc: “Farshad Alamdari” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2015 12:08:26 PM
Subject: RE: Your Membership Application
Karen: [Victim] is certainly persistent. Well done. Mike
Michael A. Larson
Attorney at Law
One Union Square, Suite 1730
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