In the age of extreme polarization we live in, I have decided to speak up – with a sincere hope that my voice that calls for dialogue and understanding will not be misunderstood and will not play into the existing divisive rhetoric.
A number of challenges have held me back:
1. I don’t want to simply join the game of ‘the loudest and angriest voice wins’.
There was a time in the past, when sharing my thoughts felt like a gentle stream flowing from my heart to the page. However, as the cacophony of divisive voices has swelled around me, my stream has become a still pond. I have gone silent, reluctant to become another one of too many voices, often well-meaning, that have lost themselves in the echo chambers of extremism and polarization.
Every word spoken nowadays risks being contorted. Call for unity, and you’re accused of playing power games. Advocate for war, and you’re hailed as a defender of peace. In this tumult, where words lose their sincerity, I have worried: will my voice too, merely fan the flames?
I am genuinely concerned for our society, as I am convinced that a society that rewards the rude, the controversial, and the angry, while sidelining the cooperative and the peacemakers, is treading a dangerous path. Such a society, disconnected from dialogue and stability, is fated to implode. Concerned that the only voices left will be those on the extremes, I have decided to make my voice heard.
2. I don’t want to say too much about topics that I’m not informed enough to have an opinion on.
My journey in academia has been a humbling one. I’ve come to appreciate the vastness of what I don’t know. Academia, as I see it, shouldn’t be a gatekeeper of knowledge but a beacon, spreading its light far and wide. Not being an expert shouldn’t silence me, but it should remind me to tread carefully, with humility. While I might not have all the answers, it doesn’t mean I lack insights. Silence for fear of partial knowledge denies the world of fresh perspectives.
3. I don’t want to give people yet another reason to be offended.
With a rich tapestry of backgrounds and beliefs in my life, speaking out has always been a cautious endeavour. I cherish the diversity around me and have often feared that outspokenness might lead to misunderstandings or hurt. Yet, silence is ambiguous. It often leaves me typecast, based on preconceived notions of me, rather than my true beliefs. Hence, with all its inherent risks, I’ve chosen to speak, aiming not to divide but to unite, to promote understanding rather than misunderstanding.
The Reason for My Blog:
Rekindling my passion for writing is a testament to my belief in the power of authentic dialogue. My voice might not be the loudest, it carries a hope for connection, understanding, and collaboration. In this age of division, can we remember to take time to listen and learn from those who belong to ‘the other tribe’ and recommit ourselves to open and sincere dialogue?
I am convinced that a society that rewards the rude, the controversial, and the angry, while sidelining the cooperative and the peacemakers, is treading a dangerous path.