Thoughts on Silence (2) on its way in a few days…
Comments on Silence based on thoughts arising in response to Charlie Hebdo. Mine and others, some unrelated to these specific events but appropriate and pertinent.
There are different types of silence. This – here, today – is about acquiescence and the refusal to join the argument that many think is not theirs. You are a part of the argument whether it is about the murder of innocent citizens, what is being forced into your food supply by your own government, the reduction of opportunities for people to support themselves, atrocities committed by your own government and others, the manner in which your children are treated in schools, or the right to practice freely the lifestyle you choose. Opposition is a fact of human life. Terrorism does not need to be. Once we give in to it, once we accept defeat, we have lost more than our own life. We have lost the lives of our children, our children’s children, and all others to follow. We need to stand up and be counted and not become the violence and rage that we are standing up to. Not Afraid signs are all over France and across the globe. We can have a voice without promoting violence. Je Suis Charlie – I Am Charlie.
When we are silent, we agree to be a part of the ruling group regardless of what they do. When we are silent against an unfair government, we approve their power and their tyranny. They are not “someone else”. They are the result of our silence. We can stand up and be counted without holding guns and more effectively we can do so by voting properly and starting at the first level of government with watchdog organizations…….because the seed you water is the one that will grow.
Freedom of speech, of creative acts, of protest and voices that illuminate the dark nights of ignorance and radical oppression must be protected, whether we like what someone says or not. We are now adding Paris events to the ever lengthening list of atrocities one group does to another in the claim to having the more righteous god, the more powerful alliance, and the only true voice. You/we must defend everyone’s right to be free. Creatives continually do what many others won’t. Change that. Act in solidarity and not in silence. Be loud. Be clear. Be consistent……
“Because if you don’t stand up for the stuff you don’t like, when they come for the stuff you do like, you’ve already lost.”
“It was a shocking thing to say and I knew it was a shocking thing to say. But no one has the right to live without being shocked. No one has the right to spend their life without being offended. Nobody has to read this book. Nobody has to pick it up. Nobody has to open it. And if you open it and read it, you don’t have to like it. And if you read it and you dislike it, you don’t have to remain silent about it. You can write to me, you can complain about it, you can write to the publisher, you can write to the papers, you can write your own book. You can do all those things, but there your rights stop. No one has the right to stop me writing this book. No one has the right to stop it being published, or sold, or bought, or read.”
“To view the opposition as dangerous is to misunderstand the basic concepts of democracy. To oppress the opposition is to assault the very foundation of democracy.”
“If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves. We should, therefore, protest openly everything … that smacks of discrimination or slander.”
“The strongest and most effective force in guaranteeing the long-term maintenance of power is not violence in all the forms deployed by the dominant to control the dominated, but consent in all the forms in which the dominated acquiesce in their own domination.”
“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter”.
One last thought – silence does not make bad things go away. It just gives them the space they need to grow, to gain strength and power. Prayer – for those of you who use it – and intention are wonderful things but until they can remove a bullet from a gun before the trigger is pulled, they aren’t the first line of defense. Not in my mind. Mahatma Gandhi believed in peaceful protest, but not in silence. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington was one of the best American examples of peaceful protest. He did not believe in silence. Raise your voice. End your silence. Use your voice, tax dollars, boycott capabilities and everything you have at hand to turn things around and help build a safer place to live for all of us.
Thank you for reading my blog.
© Jacqualine-marie baxman 2015