I’m not a writer, though I’d really like to become one, but today I’d like to talk to you about the Power of Words. It might be the written word, though even more significantly those that are spoken, can influence or change our lives. They may come from our parents, our mentors, our leaders. They can unite us, or divide between us. Bring peace or start a war. Bring hope or send us into the darkest times. Words. That’s all it takes.
We’re only weeks away from the next US elections, which will decide whether one of America’s darkest times is over. The man currently sitting in the White House has changed the culture of decent diplomacy, based on respect and open communication with peers and political opponents. He normally doesn’t use more than 280 characters when he spreads fear and hatred on social media. Not a single word to bring hope to millions around the world.
But, things were not always so poorly managed. Not far back, we had the privilege of following and listening to a great man and a true leader – Barak Obama. In his Inaugural Address, Obama was calling for a “new era of responsibility”. In his words: “On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord”. In a call to the Muslim world during years of conflict in the Middle East, Obama called out towards ISIS saying: “To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy“. Such a great man and leader he was, that his emphasis was on the US leading the way to bring hope not only to Americans, but to the whole world: “To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it”.
On the other hand, leaders in the Middle East are battling an ongoing conflict, yet insist on maintaining a status quo rather than taking a chance for hope and peace for the benefit of the next generations. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently dismissed the US ‘deal of the century’ for peace with Israel, before it has even been presented, calling it a ‘slap in the face’. He then used a traditional Arab phrase towards the US President, “Ichrab Betach“, which in free translation means: “May God demolish your house”.
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The power of words is so significant. It takes brave people to lead, bring hope and make a change, in oppose to ignorant people who aim to harm and divide. What’s more alarming is that it can take years to build, and minutes to destroy. Think about it, when you cast your vote at the ballot this coming elections.