“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” We’ve all heard this saying since we were children, but now that I come to think of it, I’ve never disagreed with a statement more. It shows how the sheer importance of words is taken for granted.
Scrolling through my Facebook page I came across a video of a mozzarella tower on food network, lynching in Mardan, a quiz telling me how tall my husband would be based on my Subway order, videos of the United Airlines incident, Kashmiri youth being beaten on the road, trailer of Fast and Furious 8 and memes like these:
Besides the mozzarella tower (obviously), the comment section of all other posts left me in disgust. Talking about whether Mashal deserved what he got in Mardan and bad mouthing his family is not helping anyone’s case because the boy is dead. By turning the United Airlines incident- the mans embarrassing experience- into a punchline would probably put his family and him in more discomfort than they’re already in. Memes showing such insulting imagery for “haha” as a response shows how insensitive humans can be; stooping low enough to make fun of a deformity. And this is not just my newsfeed today; it’s everyday and it’ll probably be the same tomorrow.
We all claim we are educated, belonging to the elitist of schools and posting pseudo-intellectual thoughts every now and yet we participate in such pointless comments and call it “freedom of speech”, “expressing our opinions” and say it’s “our right”.
The truth is, when freedom of speech hurts others, it’s not an opinion anymore; its a form of hate speech, and hate speech consists of words that can effect a person on a much deeper level than a physical wound.