It's often difficult to speak with people who have radically different viewpoints from your own. Sometimes, it's easy to lash out or get angry when speaking with others about issues you disagree on — especially when faced with people you find downright morally abhorrent, like white supremacists. But at a protest in the Czech Republic on Monday, a teenage Girl Scout fearlessly stood up to a neo-Nazi with a simple smile and a shrug.
Lucie Myslíková, a 16-year-old Girl Scout, attended a May Day rally on Monday to peacefully protest far-right demonstrators with other girls in her troop. When a man in a neo-Nazi sweatshirt approached her and began challenging her while she held a sign that read, "We will raise your children," an amateur photographer captured her reaction.
"She was standing tall ... she stood proud and made some profound arguments," Vladimir Cicmanec, who took the photo, told CNN.
Cicmanec said that he overheard the two discussing the concepts of nation-states and immigration. "She tried to explain to him that nationalism makes no sense because we are all people and should not be treated differently based on some arbitrary distinction," Cicmanec said.
When the photo was posted online, it immediately went viral. Many applauded Myslíková for being fearless, brave, calm, and collected in the face of opposition, and others praised the girl's courage to stand up for her beliefs and promote peace.
Myslíková expressed the reason for her peaceful protest in a Facebook comment.
“I believe that dialogue is, like other non-violent expression, the best way to combat evil," Myslíková wrote on the original online photo, which was posted on the World Organization of the Scout Movement Facebook page.
Myslíková later elaborated on the incident in an interview with a Czech radio station, explaining that she spoke with the neo-Nazi about migration and immigrants. When asked why she decided to protest, Myslíková simply stated, "It makes sense to be seen and heard and stand up against what we do not like."
Myslíková is the epitome of a fearless girl. She is not afraid to speak her mind, and to do so with compassion and a commitment to contributing to mutual understanding. Not many people would have the courage to stand up to a neo-Nazi, or to do so with a smile. But Myslíková did, and it's an excellent reminder that all of us have the power to resist in the face of hate.