Free to Speak or Forced to Shut Up?

Is silence golden or are we being forced to shut up? As a child, I would listen to adults discuss the news and the usual dramas that all families go through. I had an overwhelming urge to give my opinion and personal view on the latest scandals but was protectively deterred by the loving wink of my mum’s eye. She knew her child and could read my mind as if it were her own, however, she also knew that I should be seen and not heard for my sake.

Unable to speak of certain things in earshot of my dad, I had to find another outlet to connect with him in a positive way. There were things I believed in at that time which shouldn’t have been dismissed or unheard even if they had an air of naivety due to my age and inexperience. Luckily, I didn’t have to try to find a common interest as I developed a natural love for football and sports in general; this gave father and daughter plenty to talk about and I became familiar with free speech for the first time.

You see there is strength is speech, a show of strength is seen as a potential threat to some people and in particular those who want a hold over you or maintain, in their controlling minds, order. I can’t remember a time that has been more filled with people wanting to have their say, maybe they always have and the geniuses of Twitter and Facebook invented TL’s, likes, posts and shares to give us the communicative outlet we so badly need.

The negative side to this of course is that through anger, miseducation or no education at all, sexists, bigots, bullies, racists and abusers still exist and are having their say too; you will find the block and unfriend options in your Twitter or Facebook settings.

At the heart of our words must be some level of common sense. It is common sense that women at any age should not be kidnapped and taken away from their families and it is common sense that you do not fire at will killing innocent children whilst they play and sleep.

I salute all the people who are determined and have the guts and language to simply emphasise the obvious. I was lucky, the forced silence that weighed on me as a child loosened its grip and I slowly gained the freedom to express myself. Speaking for one’s self can be challenging but if you are speaking for someone you have never met or are likely to meet, you have compassion. Keep talking!

© Michelle Sotiriou 2014

If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything’

Malcolm X

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