Maya Angelou: Find your voice

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”
-William Faulkner

Can you imagine a world without Dr. Maya Angelou’s voice?

"Maya Angelou: Letter to My Daughter" at Barnes & Noble in Union Square on October 30, 2008 in New York City. Photo: Maya Angelou's website
“Maya Angelou: Letter to My Daughter” at Barnes & Noble in Union Square on October 30, 2008 in New York City. Photo: Maya Angelou’s website

In the Youtube clip posted at the bottom of this blog; she said some of the experiences that shook her up made her stop speaking, but she realised it was dangerous for her to stay silent.

One quote that strikes me from the YouTube clip:

“Mutism is like a drug, it’s so addictive, you don’t have to do anything.”

There are so many people around the word whose voices are being muted. Sometimes the news catches on and sheds some light:

Origami protest birds. Photo: A Safe World For Women website
Origami protest birds. Photo: A Safe World For Women website

Cham and Jasmine: A campaign has been launched in the Syrian capital of Damascus, by friends of two missing sisters. The pair were behind a peaceful protest message against tanks and guns. They distributed origami figures such as birds and cranes around the city. They were arrested 77 days ago by Syrian security officials and nothing has been heard from them since.  Further information and other important news can be found at A Safe World For Women. The site is appealing for help. Tweet them: @safeworld4women

Bassem Youssef bases his show on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show". Photo: Via Al Bernameg on YouTube
Bassem Youssef bases his show on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show”. Photo: Via Al Bernameg on YouTube

Bassem Youssef: An Egyptian TV comedian who models his programme on America’s “The Daily Show”, is currently facing jail, accused of undermining President Mohammed Morsi for gluing a photo of the President to a pillow and impersonating him.

BBC caption: Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai first came to public attention in 2009 when she wrote a BBC diary about life under the Taliban. Photo: Reuters
BBC caption: Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai first came to public attention in 2009 when she wrote a BBC diary about life under the Taliban. Photo: Reuters

Malala Yousafzai: A 15-year-old girl who became a household name in October 2012 after being shot by the Taliban for pursuing an education. She represents millions of girls in third world countries who are in danger when they pose a threat to their patriarchal culture.

Ai WeiWei. Photo: Rex Features
Ai WeiWei. Photo: Rex Features

Ai WeiWei: This Chinese artist is constantly imprisoned, beaten and silenced for his blogs and his artwork which comment on politics. He disappeared at one point as he was due in London, to promote his exhibition at the Tate Gallery in 2011.

Amal Murkus. Photo listen to the banned website
Amal Murkus. Photo listen to the banned website

Amal Murkus: An Israeli-Palestinian singer who is censored for singing about hope. Check out the Listen to the banned website or Freemuse website for information on musicians who challenge dictatorships, or speak on politics and pay the consequences.

Indian rape victim: Laws world-wide are put in place to protect victims from the stigma of rape. In India, the news of a girl raped and killed has brought the country under a new spotlight. There are millions of voiceless women who face stigma not only in cultures like that of India’s, but right back at home whatever country we live in.

This is just scratching the surface. Not everyone is given the press coverage they might deserve. Amnesty International send out weekly appeals for many of the people whose lives they are trying to save and get fair trials.

AVA-Projects recognises that a lot of voices are being silenced and searches for them, to give them the tools to have their voices heard through the arts and the medium of social media.

Visit Dr. Maya Angelou’s website here and watch the aforementioned YouTube clip here:

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