This year’s silence

On Wednesday morning after waking to find Trump in the process of winning the election, I had no words. There isn’t always something to say.

I resist the silence of remembrance every year. I am suspicious of the way that the ‘official’ remembrance requires an official silence, that silences resistance. On this day I don’t only remember those ‘who laid down their lives for their country. I remember that we (collectively) slaughtered millions of people over the last century and don’t seem to be able to stop.

But today, I am overwhelmed. Fearful, tired, and feeling weak, I wonder if joining the silence will bring the strength of mutual reflection. I certainly need more silence. So maybe this silence is a place to start. That in the face of all that destruction a small silence is a breath in public life. To focus on the specific death of soldiers, and maybe even ‘our’ soldiers, in silence may neither acquiescence nor resistance.

So that was written just before 11, and I did sit silent; shut my computer, breathed and did my best to concentrate on that loss, the death of soldiers, and not be overwhelmed by all the other losses.  Though I didn’t feel the full sense of civic silence, it was centring. Perhaps I understand something of the original intention that I had not understood before. Or perhaps I’ve found my own place in it.  Silence does not equal consent, a period of silence can give strength for further resistance.

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