THE SILENT WITNESS

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”- Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have heard this quote many a times, however I found that Clint Smith brought this to life, in his spoken word piece presented as part of TED Talks. Being a regular viewer of TED Talks, I always find my brain cells being challenged. I am always inspired or left with something to ponder over, at the very least. If you haven’t already watched one, I strongly recommend that you do!

So going back to the talk I was referring to by Clint Smith – The danger of silence. This particular talk struck a chord with me. I guess we are all victim to our very own silence at some stage in our lives. Although communication through silence can be powerful in given contexts, this video makes reference to silence in the negative form.

So how do you know your silence is damaging? Ever get that feeling when you’ve  failed to speak up, and upon reflection you’re filled with guilt.  You are not short of words, yet your mouth feels as though it has been bolted shut. A type of silence caused by your mouth drying up like a leaf soaked in the sun. A silence that pains you.

The speaker says he teaches his students to “read critically, write consciously, speak clearly and tell your truth.” At this point of the talk, the guilt in me rushed to my eyes in the form of tears. “Tell your truth.” I guess when you’ve kept silent through the moments you wish you hadn’t, through the moments you’d wished you were able to release the chaos of words drumming against your chest, bouncing off your mind, yet unable to reach your tongue;  you are left with nothing but guilt.  Guilt filling your body, attempting to find any means of escape.

My truth. My truth is that I am also a victim of silence.

“So sometimes I wouldn’t say anything, appeasing ignorance with my silence, unaware that validation doesn’t need words to endorse its existence.”

Witnessing atrocities taking place around the world each and every day. Witnessing them and remaining silent. Failing to speak. I wonder how a television screen became so powerful. Powerful enough to distance us from the reality of the sufferings of the human race. How do we become immune to their pain? Or is it that we just can’t seem to relate? After all we feel protected, knowing we’ll never be exposed to such things.

I have always believed that our tongue is our most powerful weapon, yet I have not mastered the art of it’s use. Perhaps I need training in a class called knowledge. For what use are my words if their manipulation makes me rank amongst the ignorant.

My written words are generally fuelled by nothing other than emotion, however unfortunately in most circumstances, emotion alone is not enough. Instead knowledge is power.

I silence myself, whilst the words of others leave wounds so deep, that nothing other than faith can fill. I tell myself I will speak. I will speak once I have learned all that there is to learn. I tell myself each and every day “Educate yourself.” Educate yourself so that you can share your knowledge. So that you can fight ignorance with that which you have learned. For such a battle does not require weapons of mass destruction. My tongue will surely be enough.

And one day, I know “I will live every day as if there were a microphone tucked under my tongue.”

@ufshah

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