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Uploaded: 06 October 2004

The personal is political.

Now here's a thing. I am a member of an organization called the UK Society for the Study of Dissociation (UKSSD). This organization has an online forum in which I was, until recently, a participant. Last June I wrote a post in which I said, 'Silence is a vote'. Not only so, but that silence is a vote for whatever prevails. It led to a flurry of interest and exchanges that were lively and engaging and included several people coming out of 'Lurk' mode to participate on the Forum. 

A fellow proponent and I were warned, a few days later, that the moderator was going to draw a line under the discussion because it was an explicit challenge to members who chose not to participate in the Forum, something that we had both clearly said as part of the discussion and to highlight the issue. This was done not as a 'finger pointing' exercise, but to explore the general principle in its application in every sphere, though this clearly made some people very uncomfortable.

A quote from another member was poignant:

"The survivor must be a witness. He doesn't have the right to hide behind a façade of false modesty. The easy way would be just to say nothing - but it's been a long time since he took the easy way. So listen. ('After the Darkness. Reflections on the Holocaust' Elie Wiesel)

The outcome of this is that we were temporarily barred by the moderator. 

The moderator was told that such unilateral action was wrong by the committee, and we were reinstated.

The discussion resumed which included some fairly heavy flames to those of us who had supported the view that silence is a vote. 

I got tired of the whole thing as I am not really interested in banging a drum for banging its sake, so I left the forum. I do believe in leading a horse to water, but whether it drinks or not is its own business, and if it chooses not to, you wont find me sitting on its head.

However I did continue the discussion in private, specifically with the colleague who had been barred with me. She wanted to put a final post outlining many of the injustices that took place, barring, withheld posts, flaming and so on. This was done and it led to the permanent barring of her and another UKSSD member. 

It was all a tragic reflection of the world we are living in today. It is not right to speak out, it is not right to be a dissenting voice, it is not right to have a view other than the prevailing one. 


© Keith Lindsay-Cameron 2004

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