Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Language of Silence

I wish to re-post this news item from UK’s The Guardian dated July 29, 2016.
It tells us about the power of communication – but more than that, it teaches us that communication isn’t always about words – and that sometimes, silence is just as powerful.
And true enough – the headline reads: “No words as Pope Francis visits the Auschwitz death camp in silence”.

Pope Francis pays his respects at the ‘wall of death’. Photo: David W Cerny/Reuters
The pontiff visited the Nazi death camps – the place where 1.1 million people were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau during the Second World War. There was much somber contemplation and prayer.
In fact, Pope Francis had said he wanted his visit – the third by a pope – to be conducted in silence.
“I would like to go to that place of horror without speeches, without crowds – only the few people necessary. Alone, enter, pray. And may the Lord give me the grace to cry”.
At Block 11, Francis met a group of former inmates of the camp and some of those hailed as “righteous among nations” for risking their lives to save Jews during the Nazi occupation of Poland.
One passed him a lit candle, which the pope carried to the “wall of death” at the end of the block’s yard, in front of which thousands of inmates were executed.
Also, the pope spent time alone in the cell of Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan priest who volunteered to take the place of a prisoner selected for death. Kolbe died on August 14, 1941 and was later canonised by Pope John Paul II.
The visit falls on the 75th anniversary of the day Kolbe was condemned to death.
The pope’s only public words were written in the Auschwitz guest book: “Lord, have pity on your people. Lord, forgive so much cruelty”.
The vast majority of those who died at Aushwitz-Birkenau were Jewish, but thousands of Polish Catholics, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war also lost their lives.
Speaking before the visit, Piotr Cywiński, the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial complex, said: “There are places and tragedies which make you at a loss for words, where actually there are no words to express what so many still see as unimaginable”.
So very true.
On Thursday evening, I returned to Level 5, Wisma Naza in Jalan Sg. Besi, KL to attend the Metro Toastmasters meeting.

I was slated to be the Table Topics Master but I also ended up giving a speech too. It was a CC speech #2 titled “I’m in Love”.

Since June of this year, I have been mainly focusing on my Advanced speeches – so it is timely that I restart a new round of Competent Communication manuals. I am hoping to complete 10 CCs this 2016-2017.

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