The crime of silence

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

From wave to wave.

The sea is all knowing.

But it forgets.

Mario Benedetti

I wrote this in August 1994 in Salobreña, sitting across from the sea as the sun went down:

The crime

of silence.

We must become

the voice

of the silenced


The voice

that denounces,

that proclaims

that man

is not for sale,

is not part

of the market.

The voice

that reaches out to

the four corners

of the earth,

forceful and loud.

Let no one who

can speak

stay quiet.

Let all those who can,

join in with

this cry.

The silence of the silenced, of the gagged. The silence of ignorance. Terrible silence. Though even more terrible, so terrible it is a crime, is the guilty silence of the silent. Of those who can speak but remain quiet. Of those who can and should speak, but choose not to.

We owe our voice. To our own conscience, primarily. But, immediately after, it is our duty to be the voice of the voiceless. We owe them our voice: The voice owed to you, as in Garcilaso's eclogue, as in Salinas' book. The voice owed, above all, to those who follow just behind us, to future generations.

Without ceasing. Without flinching. Resisting distraction or weariness. Resisting the pull of the screen (s), passive viewers. It is a duty to speak out. To fail to do so is, or can be, wilful insolidarity, a moral transgression, a crime. "When the tired man / ... stops, / he betrays the world, because he yields / in hte supreme duty, which is to continue".

Try again. Without stopping, without pause, because -as Salinas continues- "It makes our lives complete / that pure, restless flight...".

A watchful voice. A voice that warns and corrects. A voice tha guides. "The voice must preceed the fact, / prevent it. / Any later and it is useless. / Nothing more than trembling air" (verse on Cambodia, 8 April 1979).

The voice owed, pledged. The voice that liberates as it utters. The voice that is a handhold, that cures. In 1995, I wrote in Paris,

"... The voice sometimes / was not a voice out of fear. The voice tha could have been the remedy / and was nothing".

In hies poem, On Present Time, José Ángel Valente warns us:

"I write from a shipwreck.

I write about the present time.

I write... about what we have destroyed

above all inside us.

I write from the night,

from the infinite progression of the shadows,

... from the clamour of man and the netherworld,

from genocide,

from the children, infinitely dead...

but I also write form life...

from its powerful cry".

Like Garcilaso, "No longer could I remain silent," let us raise our voice. A voice owed, a voice of life. The crime of silence"... Let the voice of everyone be heard, / solemnly and clearly". This is the message of Miquel Martí i Pol. Of everyone! The clamour of the people, so that our descendents do not look back one day and think: "They could have but the did not dare. We waited for their voice, and it never came".

The sea can remain silent.

We cannot.


In book "Heartbeats of time", by Ricardo Calero and Gervasio Sánchez. Published by Ayuntamientos of Sevilla and Zaragoza, 2004