“Spiteful words can hurt your feelings but silence breaks your heart.”
We seem to recollect those harsh and spiteful words spoken by others, that may have been spoken in anger, frustration, irritation, disappointment or pain, which have hurt us. However it would possibly take us a while to recollect the events that evoked a searing pain caused by those who hurt us by their silence. Perhaps the latter hurt is so painful that we unconsciously erase the memory and keep it hidden in the deepest recess of the heart but secretly the bitterness and the painful experience engulf us. We would rather dwell on the hurt that is verbalized for it can be recounted and our senses can conjure up a rage and revenge possibility.
When is it that the silence resounds so loudly and painfully? Perhaps we too are guilty of creating this silent cacophony that deafens the senses and perhaps even our sense of self worth.
Remaining silent when we need to speak up. Often when our views seem to be opposed by a strong majority we have self doubts about our point of view and prefer to keep silent rather than risk ridicule. Remember the terrible feeling that overcomes us when latter on someone proffers our view and gets complimented and applauded for the radical idea? Similarly if you are standing in a line and an aggressive person attempts to break in do we meekly allow it or do we tick the person off for his/her uncouth behavior? If we keep mum do we hate ourselves for our spineless behavior?
When we keep mum to avoid telling the truth. Look back at school days when you ended up having a scuffle with a classmate or neighbor. If you came back with a black eye and are closely questioned by your parents after attempting some half hearted lies you would possibly have simply kept quite refusing to respond to any questioning. Despite pleas by elders and parents to tell the truth on the promise of not being inflicted with any serious ramifications if you still kept mum and thereafter somehow the truth emerged and you were severely reprimanded and punished the embarrassment and shame never gets erased. Imagine a situation where you have done something wrong and a classmate is reprimanded and punished and all the while you keep mum for fear of the consequences. Does the image of the innocent classmate pleading his innocence still hurt you?
When we clam up when we need to assert. Remember the school bully who constantly harassed either us or someone else who was weaker. Visualize the shame and pain we felt for remaining powerless and quietly bearing up. The hurt is more when at some point we see a much smaller, more scrawny but stout hearted student assert and defuse the bully’s arrogance and bullying. We cringe at the thought for it shames us to recollect our own cowardice. Recollect the time you could not refuse your friends in joining them in their misadventure and flouted the rules and got severely punished for it. Thereafter did you feel lousy for not having the moral courage to boldly refuse being a participant in the misadventure?
When refuse to voice our concerns or vocalize our support due to sheer apathy or fear of the repercussions You may have experienced the pain of studying hard and appearing for an exam only to see mass scale copying all around. Yet you do not lode your protest with the authorities for fear of the consequences both by the students as well as the authorities who could extract vengeance.
The words of ” Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group epitomizes the truth above
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Remember: “Lying is done with words and also with silence.” Adrienne Rich
- Make a list of 3 – 5 social issues about which you as a responsible citizen have serious concerns. Choose one of those topics and write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper. Keep writing till you get atleast one letter published and then you can take pride that ‘your voice is heard’.
- Make a list of issues on which you believe you as a responsible citizen should file an RTI query. Ideally try and file an RTI query in all seriousness but for a matter on an issue in which you really seek information.
- Try and watch the movie Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (Hindi) or 12 Angry Men (English). To know the gist of the movie click on the following link http://dearcinema.com/review/ek-ruka-hua-faisla-a-brilliant-adaptation-of-12-angry-men/0720 ( Notice how ONE man changes the views of 12 others and also the final verdict all because he refused to keep silent)
This post is courtesy www.actspot.com
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