By Yoann Hommel
2016 might go down in history books as a year for social movements, for the rise of those who felt like our society needs a change, for putting an end to the liberal consensus type of fight, for bringing back the radical movements in the news.
2016 on an individual level might be remembered for all of us as the year during which we had to choose whether we wanted to take part in the ongoing events or not: did we decide to stay on the side or to actually join the fight? On all sides it is more and more denounced to stay neutral. Neutrality is seen as not wanting society to change and is therefore against the movement itself. By offering a more pragmatic take on issues, Clinton has been criticized and portrayed as an opportunist against people like Sanders and Trump who by taking clear-cut stances rallied big crowds during the primaries.
You have to take a stance. Silence is not an option anymore. To be silent is to be guilty by omission. To be silent is to agree with the way our society works.
As for my own community, the LGBTQ+ community, we heard a lot of those voices demanding for the community to be less vocal because we acquired more rights and we aimed at normality, and those voices succeeded in actually impacting the appeal of our own advocacy groups and safe spaces. Until Orlando. Until we realized that silence didn’t create emptiness, silencing our fight didn’t mean normality, silencing our fight never meant silencing the guns of those who want us dead, silencing our fight only meant giving more space to the voices of those who want to shut ours down.
By not saying anything, you are allowing far-right parties to tackle the issues on which you thought society agreed upon. By not saying anything, you are allowing institutional racism and police brutality to be perpetuated. By not saying anything, you are creating a space in which those who are unsure of their place in society will doubt their own worthiness. Do not be afraid of the word activism, do not be afraid of taking a stance, do not be afraid of debating: the uncertainty of a fight always comes with the possibility of a better society at the end, whereas the certainty of silence comes with the result of a louder voice for those who want you to be silent.
I’m not asking you to have radical views on every topic, I’m asking you to be radical in the act of thinking and participating in society, even if it means being radical in believing in consensus, do believe in it and talk about it, but never choose silence over debate.