Have you ever been without language? Without voice? Stripped of your ability to communicate?
I have. Most recently, it was walking through the streets of Prague and realising that while a few days earlier in Munich, my high school German had been sufficient for basic communication—not even Google Translate could really help me understand a word of Czech. I was without voice.
There are other times I've been without voice. As a kid, powerless and voiceless to communicate my feelings about our family changing in the face of divorce. As a teenager in a local church, voiceless because I wasn't qualified in theology. As a young adult, because I wasn't experienced enough. And, as a professional, at times, because I'm a woman.
Nothing compares the voicelessness of having no language at all. It's one thing to be voiceless because you speak and no one listens. It's another to simply have no words at all.
Walking through Prague and Munich is walking through pages of history. Both cities are scarred and marked from religious and political persecution throughout the ages. Political activists and those not fitting the norm were silenced through death and destruction, followed by racial and religious genocide. That's a lot of language, a lot of voices silenced. Over 8 million dead, in the Second World War alone.
'We must never let such a thing happen again' is the resounding message you hear, wordlessly, through monuments, memorials and museums in Europe. Never again, must so many voices be lost.
You may already know there are over 1 million voiceless in Europe. Refugees from the current Syrian crisis and from the trauma of religious wars in the Middle East and other parts of Europe.
These are the voices being debated in the American presidential election. These voices, along with refugees from parts of South East Asia, are being debated in the parliaments of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Some people talk about building a wall. Some people talk about closing borders. Some people say 20,000 is enough. Really? Because we said we'd never let such a thing as losing millions of voices from our world, happen again.
However and wherever you engage in this topic, you need to know they are voiceless, like you will probably never be voiceless, unless you speak up in every forum you have.
Be political. Be loud. Be the voice for the voiceless. We promised never again.
Tash McGill wants to change the world by helping people to think differently. Sometimes described as courageous by her friends, she frequently says aloud what no-one else is brave or stupid enough to say. She also finds writing third-person biographies uncomfortable.
Tash McGill's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tash-mcgill.html