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Haiku: Silence…

19/11/2012

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

Haiku: Silence…

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Elie Wiesel

She smiled, hate filled eyes
Filthy words flew by… N*&%$r!
I cringed, said nothing…

The first time a dorm mate called me that name, I was left speechless. Here I was, at a fancy school, surrounded by supposedly educated people and … such behavior? As Oliver Herford said, “A man is known by the silence he keeps.” For me to say nothing was a sign of weakness, of allowing a bully to gain the upper hand, and it ate at me for a long time.

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” Abraham Lincoln

Haiku: Silence…

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

A dorm mate stood by
Silenced by the rage, spewing
Black, White, all the same…

Sometimes people stand by because they are equally flabbergasted. I chose to believe the dorm mate said nothing because she was shocked too. She said nothing… I said nothing… But not forever. More below!

“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.”  Khalil Gibran

Haiku: Silence…

In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood. Henry David Thoreau

With time, silence left
No more caged by fear or shame
We, I, speak fiercely…

Over the years, I’ve learned to speak up against hate directed at me and at others close to me. I believe we are all made in the image of the Creator, and none of us is less than or greater than… and that is what I say first when ugliness dressed as self righteousness, rears its head, when infact its true name is – prejudice. We owe it to each other to speak up. Have a playful, restful Thanksgiving week!
What are your thoughts? What do you do when a situation irks you? Do you face it or struggle with it? Does adding a touch of humor help you with difficult subjects? Do share! Thank you. :-)

*Please bear with me as I catch up on your blogs and commenting… Thank you all for your patience! :-)

This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: Prompt: Set It To Rights… Think of a time you let something slide, only for it to eat away at you later. Tell us how you’d fix it today. And by Haiku Heights.blogspot.com Silence at times can say a lot more than words, but it can also be misunderstood. What do you feel? Share with us this week through a haiku

Positive Motivation Tip: When unjust events unfold before your eyes, take a stand and act with clarity… Don’t be afraid. Speak out.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Misty morning, via Wikipedia

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

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32 Comments leave one →
  1. 21/11/2012 2:06 pm

    Humor is a great way to ‘force’ an opening in a conflict. It all depends on the nature of the situation. If it is really nasty, then I will be ice cold or fuming hot and say exactly what is on my mind. It is up to the other to do something with it. And when children or animals are involved, I will become even nastier.

    • 23/11/2012 6:58 pm

      I hear you… I’m generally patient but can turn that corner too… I dislike injustice so stuff like cruelty and dishonesty irks me. TY!

  2. 21/11/2012 2:35 pm

    Someone said (Einstein, I think) that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to stand by? But I, like you, have stood silent at times when I was faced with hate directed towards me or others, as the rage itself made me feel powerless. Thank you for this post–it inspires me to be strong!

    • 23/11/2012 7:08 pm

      TY too for sharing your experience of it… It does make one feel powerless at that moment and the memory lingers… :-)

  3. 21/11/2012 2:40 pm

    Eliz, to be honest, I really miss this kind of post of yours … the engaging one. Posts with that last question that really encourage your readers to think of what they are going to comment.

    I’m going to flip-flop, and say it works both ways. I think it’s good that you mentioned “time” here. Because, it helps not to get in when it’s the heat of the moment. It’s always better to wait before you confront and speak up. Arguing back and forth never solve anything.

    • 23/11/2012 7:12 pm

      And it’s a double edged sword too… There are times when we feel compelled to speak and times when we don’t… Today, a guy cut in front of me at my local coffee shop. I had just finished working out and was feeling good. Usually, as a matter of principle, I’d say something. Today, I looked at him and let it pass… Of course, my little voice was saying “Don’t let him get away with it…” I had to say to myself, it’s okay… next time I’ll say something.
      You’re right, it depends. TY! :-)

  4. 21/11/2012 5:20 pm

    If everyone read your positive motivation tip the world would be a more just place. Super post.

    • 23/11/2012 7:15 pm

      TY Catherine for your vote of confidence. I was not surprised that since this is a sensitive subject, some folk will be uncomfortable responding to it. I am glad you read the post and the motivation tip too. TY! :-)

  5. 21/11/2012 10:58 pm

    happy day for you ♥
    vento

  6. 21/11/2012 11:38 pm

    Such ugliness. I’m sorry you had to endure it. We can see from your blog that you rose way above it, though. You are beautiful, inside and out.

    • 23/11/2012 7:20 pm

      TY Tilly… I’m a work in progress and there are things that make me sad about human nature; I still believe that while mankind has the capacity for great evil, we are inherently good. ;-)

  7. 22/11/2012 1:26 am

    Elizabeth, your post has really touched a chord in me. I have been the subject of much hatred and animosity in my life right from birth. Yes, from family members (stepmother and father) and at the work place now that I am grown up. I was very fierce in my school days and could ward off any animosity. I never shut up, fighting for what was right because I hate injustice so. At the same time, my basic respect for the elderly and those in authority prevent me from speaking out at certain times.

    On several occasions, I have spoken up against wrong policies and arbitrary and manipulative systems that deprive staff members of their rights to promotion and other basic rights at the work place. As an HR person, I came up with policies that would benefit and enhance the staff, while at the same time strengthening the structures and systems of the Institute. For reasons I cannot even begin to explain, these policies were rejected or at best never even tabled for discussion. My own promotion delayed for several years and when it came it was more of demotion because my salary arrears of about three years were never paid to me. (The Statutes of the Institute states that approval of promotion takes effect from date of application) Even now, with a new job schedule, I have been moved to a smaller office, more like a cubicle with no secretary or assistant to help me. All those of us who were very vocal are facing this situation now.

    And now, I have kept silent because I am tired of fighting. I guess I could always leave; but job are not easily available and the job market look out for younger applicants.

    But hey, I am a survivor and the beauty of it all is that I brush these setbacks aside and keep a smile on my face. I refuse to give them the satisfaction of complaining.

    Great post, as usual. (sorry for the long talk) :-)

    • 23/11/2012 8:05 pm

      Dear Celestine,
      My heart goes out to you as I read your comment… It is tough to battle for what is right when we are surrounded by those who choose not to honor it… Don’t despair! You are going through a lot already and must entrust this to a higher power. At least your spirit is strong and you have paid attention to market conditions too… Offer this up in prayer and trust that all will be well.
      Blessings!
      E

  8. 23/11/2012 8:36 am

    Catching up too. You know I rant against silence – the good, the bad, and very ugly. Why is it some cannot say the good, praise strengthens. Bad and ugly silences only strengthen evil. There is another silence your post left me thinking about. Did you and the other silenced dorm mate ever discuss your silence?

    • 23/11/2012 8:14 pm

      Hi Katherine, Sadly, this was period when some of us felt embattled at our Alma Mater, so I don’t recall discussing it with the other student. She was probably embarrassed by it all… But thankfully, I had friends who were noble and fearless. When an “ethnicity withheld” restaurant in Queens, NY, refused to seat and serve us, my friends and I spoke up and took our business elsewhere. I have these stories in my writing project. TY :-)

  9. 23/11/2012 5:01 pm

    I’m absolutely speechless now Eliz after reading this post. I can’t even imagine. So wrong so sad and so terribly bad. I can’t believe that people can act and say these things. For some reason it reminds me of a time in my life when I was eight months pregnant and driving and this unknown man drive up beside me giving me the finger and yelling ugly things. People can be unbelievably cruel.

    • 23/11/2012 8:18 pm

      You know what Nicole? I write this blog not because I’m walking with my head in the air in blissful ignorance. I write it to motivate others to see the good in us all, to cherish the human spirit, and feel motivated to rise above petty hatreds and meanness…. I’ve seen it. Hatred is an illness and the cure difficult. TY! Blessings to you! ;-)

      • 24/11/2012 9:36 am

        Oh….great words Eliz. Yes, I think it is great that you write about topics that are sometimes hard to discuss. I don’t understand people sometimes and the hatred inside them. I especially am seeing an ugly side now as the whole gay marriage bill has been coming into the limelight here. People are so cruel and afraid of differences. We need to embrace them as we are all different, aren’t we. :)

    • 24/11/2012 7:00 pm

      I can’t comprehend that one either… What happened to live and let live, right? TY!

  10. 24/11/2012 1:35 am

    We cannot avoid ugliness in this world can we? We can only hope that the ugliness is limited to a minority. And no I couldn’t keep silent in these situations – whether I was the victim or people around me – or it would eat away at me.
    Humor is a great tool to handle less nasty situations, as long as the other person shares the same sense of humour :-)

    • 24/11/2012 9:13 pm

      I pray the ugliness is limited to a minority. I speak up now, but there were times in my life when I didn’t for a wide range of reasons; including dismay. Thanks for checking in Madhu! ;-)

  11. Deborah - d.mooncrab permalink
    25/11/2012 9:03 am

    Between my non-confrontational nature and my callings to act against cruelty, I struggle in situations like that. The anger rush through my nerves causes me to fluster and my voice trembles as I speak instead of sounding calm and clear the way I should like it to be.
    Sorry Elizabeth that you had endured such experience. Though you didn’t have a response during the incident, your posts are proof you are a stronger, smarter and more elegant individual beyond that ignorance and cruelty.

    • 25/11/2012 9:05 am

      TY for the vote of confidence… I totally get what you described because I’ve been there too. Sometimes, the vitriol is so left field it leaves you winded. :-)

  12. 27/11/2012 1:23 pm

    An excellent post! Both the photos and the wisdom of your words.

    • 30/11/2012 7:29 pm

      TY Naomi and glad to have you back again… I appreciate that you recognize my absence as my being behind in blog visits, which I do daily to catch up on the hundreds & hundreds of blogs I follow, not as a dismissal of your blog. Wish all would understand that too. TY! :-)

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