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Silent Protest










A protest that cannot be articulated, is a protest spawned by futility, to feed futility.









My contempt for what I am presented with is rarely expressed plainly. My reservations to express at all is grounded in years of ridicule and dismissal around issues I have held with great conviction. Experience is a bitter pill, whether swallowed or not. Each cycle of decay results in a shortening of the fuse that prompts us into action. I believe that our response at break point is chosen long before we reach that point. It’s not something that happens instinctively. Instead, it has been internalised for so long that when we do reach that tipping point, no contemplation or deliberation is needed. The response is not intended to be measured. It is intended to finally release the silent protest that we chose not to express outwardly for reasons that suddenly fade from significance.

Silent protests are born when our pleas for sanity or reason go unanswered in a setting that we feel compelled to embrace. It’s a cry for recognition of who we are and what we need that has fallen on inattentive ears, or calloused hearts, leaving us bound to the commitments we once made, while resisting the urge to respond in kind lest we be reduced to the same stature of that which we have grown to despise. But the contempt is not easily expressed. The contempt is reined in to ensure that the commitment remains the priority. After all, in the absence of the commitment, no such claim of aloofness would be credible.

So the silent protest plays out, often for years, and assumes a sub-conscious frame of reference that we rarely realise exists. The weightiness sets in, the lethargy overwhelms, the fatigue smothers, and the passion withers. Life ceases to be life at this point. Instead, it steps aside to allow existence to take over. Existence, then, becomes the final protest. It protests the onset of death, denies the potential of life, and secretly yearns for both.

Breathe. Exhale. Remind yourself why the silent protest started, if indeed you are able to remember, and decide if it is still worth the commitment you are trying to honour. If you can’t remember, then remind yourself about where your passion once flared, and use that as a point to return to in order to retrace your steps to the point where you lost your voice.

Zaid Ismail

Author, life coach, and mental health activist. We need to change the narrative from disorders, illnesses, and survival to accountability, understanding, and thriving.

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