Mandela on Words

Remember how powerful your words are.

It is never my custom to use words lightly. If twenty-seven years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die.”

– Nelson Mandela

I suppose I’m just jumping on the bandwagon here, quoting Mandela now that he’s dead. I wasn’t planning on it. But then I read this post via Freshly Pressed, and the quote at the end stuck with me. I realized I wanted to share it, because the sentiment is so, so important to writers, to people who wrestle with words daily. It is so, so important to activists — lest we get caught in the trap of thinking that talking about things isn’t important enough.

Which, of course, is something I hear very often. My blogging isn’t good enough if I’m not marching and protesting every day. (Excuse me while I roll my eyes right out of my head.)

Words are important. Words make a very real difference in life, and in death. It is the spreading of hate via words that leads to people dying; it is the spreading of love via words that saves lives, that makes lives worth living.

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.”

 Cornel West

Remember these things. Remember how powerful your words are, and remember to speak from a place of love, that you may help bring justice to the world.

Young Canadians in politics and the death of Jack Layton

Jack Layton, leader of the Official Opposition here in Canada, died today after a battle with cancer. He was only 61.

I say only 61 because 61 is young. To me, at least — both my parents are older than 61 and I’m only 25. One of them has had cancer and beat it already. I live terrified that it’ll come back and take her from me.

So, Jack Layton is dead. What does that mean for Canada? Canadians, on the whole, don’t get as worked up politically as Americans do. For a long time I’ve thought this a good thing, as there are fewer chances for us to look like idiots on the world stage. (No offense intended to my Yankee brethren, but it’s true.)

However, now I find my thoughts turning. I wonder if we look like bigger idiots for not getting worked up — especially when there are so many things wrong with our country. (Harper being the main one.)

Today there’s been a massive outpouring of love from Canadians across the political spectrum towards Layton’s family — most people agree that, regardless where their own votes went, Layton was a force for good in Canadian politics.

What if we could put that same energy towards our politics? Towards getting involved? Towards being activists?

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