When I logged in to my WordPress Dashboard today my eyes fell on this news: April 30: A Day of Silence on the Blogosphere. As it turned out a new website has been launched to honor the victims of Virginia Tech: onedayblogsilence.com. It’s urging the bloggers to post a graphic on their blogs on April 30th – with no words, no comments, just pay the respect in a complete silence.

Why April 30th, why not now? Why adding a Digg button to the page? Are they expecting more tragedies like this to happen in future and will pressure us to be silent again? Why being silent about it, why not openly talk about the causes, the effects, why not protest all those things that made our society so violent and subhuman?

Silence should be a part of the conversation, but it should not replace the conversation. It’s easy to be silent, it takes guts to talk, to express the outrage, to investigate what went wrong and how 32 innocent lives could’ve been preserved.

What is happening to us? Who are we turning into? There are thousands of innocent people dying all over the world, every day. Some of those tragedies make headlines for a short time and then everyone forgets about them until the next shocking event falls on our heads. What about all those other devastating deaths that nobody even knows and talks about?

How many more deaths do we need to finally get a message that Guns Kill, and in most cases Guns Kill Innocent People?!

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8 Insightful Bits in response to “Can Silence Say More Than A Thousand Words?”

  1. I know that everyone gets caught up in the moment especially when something gets as much attention as this tragedy. With that in mind I think you have raised some excellent points. The first thing that comes to my mind is are we setting a precedent? Then what do we do the next time? Or what about natural disasters, bombings, plane crashes and the like? As for the digg button on the post, I think that should have been left off. You can make a case for it being there but, it tends to also give the impression of hype and oppurtunity for the posting blog.

    All that rambling said I think it is up to the individual blogger to decide to participate or not of their own free will.

  2. I was thinking of remaining silent, but there were a few questions that were raised in my head:

    1. Why on April 30th? That’s almost two weeks away. In the news world, that is forever.

    2. Why was this tragedy the precedent? And why is this tragedy the one that calls people to be silent? Was there a call for blog silence after 9/11? What about the tsunami? What about when a hundred or so civilians are killed in Iraq by a car bomb?

    After weighing those two questions, I have personally decided against participating. I’d rather voice my opinion rather than remain silent. I realize the “day of silence” is meant to honor those killed, but I will honor those killed in my own way and not by “not posting”.

    What is one day of silence really going to accomplish? This seems like a boycott in disguise.

  3. ibit

    of course, everyone is entitled to decide for themselves what to do or not to do.
    But I had to ask some questions and possibly get some answers.

    Thanks Joey and Ronald for expressing your thoughts.

  4. Bes

    [when I say "you" below, I mean the bloggers and commentors who are promoting the silent day and related ideas, and not you ibit :)]

    I agree a little bit with Joey and Ronald. Such posts, in my view, are simply weak outcries that tend to express an emotion, since a person simply thinks they cannot do anything else.

    If someone wants to do something, they should write letters of support to the people. Can you imagine the pathetic stance many people are taking? Setting up that site sounds pathetic unless it is run by the relatives of those who died. What will a site do? Why not make sure the families feel better by writing them letters or going to visit them? Writing a post on a site saying “I am sorry, the family has my support” does nothing for those families. The families are in mourning; they might not even know you exist. Writing such a post only benefits you [not you ibit, but the the bloggers who write such posts] because you offer no valuable addition to the situation, your post has no solution, and you say things which do not make sense. Maybe such bloggers wrote and will write such posts simply to add to their post count, and to ride on the bandwagon since so many other people will be posting about the topic also? If that is the case, then these bloggers are using the death of innocent people to get traffic. How pathetic!

    A day of silence? Can you imagine the number of people who are going to be having fun in the offline world while simply not posting in the online world? Why not write a letter yourself to the affected families? Why can’t we create a mentality where we can be happy everyday, and when we find out that anyone died, whether it was due to murder or due to hunger, we feel sad and immediately we resolve to do even more to help humanity, if we want to. I can bet a bit that more than a 100 homeless people died in less than 6 months in the cities where the above bloggers live, yet that did not get broadcast in the news, and thus most people did not get hyper about those deaths due to hunger or the weather.

    I will tell you something: I can guarantee you that many posters, including the site linked above, have not even taken the trouble to find out the sexes, ages or even about the character of the people who died unless they came across the cnn article by accident.

    Lorelle said the blogosphere is in deep mourning. I will say that’s not the case. Just because someone dies and I say “the world is sad today” does not mean it is. Almost every commentor to her post who has a blog, probably had lots of fun within an hour of reading that entry and expressing sorrow. Why? Because becoming hyper all of a sudden over a tragedy that is made public over the news does not mean we actually want to do something about the issue. It simply means that we can get emotional and feel ethical when the news wants us to. So I will say:

    “The Blogosphere is posting about it, but not in mourning. It is simply a news for most people.”

    I get scared of the people who see something on the news and start taking quick initiatives, when in their own daily lives they see or hear deaths through different channels all the time. More than a 1000 homeless people died this very day in this country, and they were all innocent. Do we cry about them? No, we only get emotional when we see a news broadcast about 33 innocent people being killed by someone who has some kind of a rage or something. People who get so hyper and start doing nice things because of one tv broadcast, in my view, can never be trusted. Why? Because if all the deaths around them everyday could not make them be nicer before, but a sad news broadcast about some people dying makes them act nicer on a whim, some other happy news broadcast about some happy things in life will make them forget the sadness on a whim also and make them move on to other topics. The same way they get attracted to doing nice things so quickly because of emotion, is the same way they will get attracted to not doing nice things, since the main thing that triggers their emotions is not death but the fact that it was on TV.

    But of course, I am not Lorelle. Lorelle is god/goddess for so many worshipers, while I can only command this keyboard and a mouse. So I will stop right here, before I get sacrificed as a gift by those worshipers to the real gods/goddesses.

    Off-topic: why was this post, by Lorelle, even in my WP dashboard? Am I using WordPress and wanting to see WP related news, or am I here to personal opinions about someone’s emotions regarding a tragedy?

    You know what I will do? On April 30th and any other “related” day that people are planning without any real thinking, I am going to go to the post office and mail some letters of support and this very comment to the families of those affected. I will also tell those families what I think, how I feel sad, and how I will move on with my life and how I would love for them to start living their lives also without forgetting their loved ones. I will then go to the movies and go drinking later at night.

    Why? Because I have realized some things because of experience: I have seen more people die in my own life and my family due to war crimes and other inhumane murders in front of my own eyes than most of all these bloggers and their commentors combined, so I know the actual “bullshit” that people throw at others when they say “Day of Silence.” The “Day of Silence” is simply illogical and childish, and it is offensive to those who lose people. Some may like it, but I don’t. I know when people simply say they are sad online but in the offline world everything goes on as usual. In their hearts a life only amounts to a single day of silence online. That is fine, but please don’t lie that you really care when in reality you just want to post an extra post and ride on the current events bandwagon so you can get more traffic. Try telling me in person that you are sad about the people close to me that died and you will be silent online for one day, and see what I tell you as a response. You will never ever think of talking about “Silent day” plans again to any other family again whose relatives died.

    Please keep your “silence” bullshit at your own house; when someone in your family dies, I will e-mail you a letter saying I will offer a Sunday as a day of silence by not posting that day, and by having fun in the offline world the same day. Let us see how you feel then. That feeling is the same exact feelings those affected families will feel from today onward when they see you acting so sad today as if you are going to make a difference, but when another news bulletin comes along, you will move on.

    Or am I talking too much? =\

  5. Why Apr 30? Why not today? That was the question on my mind when I landed on that page

  6. ibit

    No, Bes, you’re not talking too much (although it is now officially the longest comment on my blog).
    I really appreciate the fact that you felt comfortable expressing your thoughts freely here. Thank you.

    I’m not sure though, why you’ll be mailing the letters of support to the victims families? How many more letters like that you’ll be mailing in future? How will you actually find their addresses.

    Other than that you’ve expressed many of my concerns and thoughts on this matter.

  7. ibit

    @Shankar – why Apr 30th? Perhaps to get more publicity, more traffic to the site, more links…

  8. Bes

    Excellent point ibit! How will I find out the address? Personally, and at this very moment, I have no idea! Worst comes to worst, I will mail it to the city of Blacksburg and see if they can forward it to the families.

    Also, the only reason I will be mailing such letters to families is to let them know that not all the blogosphere is part of this weird silence day. Also, I will be doing it on purpose to show the bloggers who want to be silent that you can actually take action and do something. I will also write in those letters why I am mailing the letters, to make sure I am not showing sympathy that I otherwise would not show [if the silence day concept did not exist].

    In the past, I have mailed some letters to people I knew and also people I found out about through other people, whenever I could. If it’s a media blaze like this, one of the reasons I must send letters is to not be a hypocrite and tell others “Silence day is stupid” and not do anything myself. Does that make sense?

    I doubt I will be able to find their addresses, specially after this incident.
    Hmmm, I just thought about it: I will mail copies to VT also, and hopefully they can forward or make it public somewhere so they families can find out.

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Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
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When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on