This evening in a discussion with my husband Andrew and our friend Pam, it turns out that the way I was speaking and expressing my views was felt to be patronising by Andrew. This was certainly now what was intended. To him, I have already said, ‘I’m sorry, I’ll try not do it again.’
This year, on Holocaust Memorial Day in five months’ time we will be remembering all who suffered as a result of persecution by the Nazi regime in the Third Reich in Germany. So many different parts of society were affected. Everyone remembers the Jews and the Romanies and many remember the Communists, but what of the Freemasons, the homosexuals, the Liberals to name but three more of the horrific list of categories.
However, we all need to think about what we say and how we say it. As part of the commemorations last year on 27 January 2012, many people pledged to challenge the language of hatred and commit to using words which reflect respect for the dignity of those around them. Last January, somehow I didn’t do this. Today after what I said to Andrew, I felt challenged when Gary Spedding shared the link on Facebook this evening.
As part of my commitment to ending the language of hatred,
- remember those whose lives have been destroyed through hatred and exclusion in the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur
- challenge the language of hatred when I hear it and never use it myself
- carefully consider how I use my voice and will tell others how I feel in a way that does not harm or offend, whether I am speaking, online or in writing
- give voice to the voiceless and use my words to draw attention to the experiences of others
- work with my friends, family, colleagues and my community to create a society which is free from the dangers of persecution and hatred
You too can sign this pledge, perhaps by 27 January 2012 we will have many more people ‘thinking before they speak’.