Using the weapon of words

By  Stephanie Buosi, Youth Speak News
  • December 18, 2008
I have always enjoyed meals when my entire family is present. The laughter is contagious and we all relish revisiting memories and experiences.

The topics I look forward to the most are more serious topics like politics or world issues. This is because my views and opinions would always build up and I would want to contribute. Yet because of my age, views were automatically labelled unimportant and then ignored by the older members of my family. Accepting defeat, I would then hide my frustration by concentrating on the meal before me.

Although this situation has happened to me many times in other situations, I know that it is unfair for me to to get so angry. There are still many other opportunities for me to express my opinions and ideas — Youth Speak News being one of them.

In this generation, rights and freedoms granted to Canadians by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are used every day. Two in particular being the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press. These two rights give citizens the opportunity to express themselves and share their views with others without being thrown into prison.

These rights are not available to the people of every country. Reporters in countries which place strict restrictions on the media must continually flirt with danger if they wish to publish the truth and their opinions. Knowing this I appreciate this country so much more. I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to live in a society where I would be too frightened to voice my opinion.

“The pen is mightier than the sword.” This quote from Edward Bulwer-Lytton holds a lot of truth. Words are the essence of our communication. With them we can create ideas which can impact and influence others.

Unfortunately many people take advantage of this to produce slander and half-truths for public enjoyment. Destroying reputation and creating scandal seems to be the purpose of some of our magazines these days. Media is also used as propaganda.

On the other hand, there are some citizens who still try to take full advantage of free expression for good means. People with similar views gather together to influence others by making their views public. An example of this is the annual March for Life in Ottawa each May or even the recent strike that occurred at Toronto’s York University. There is strength in numbers and although some of these attempts do not always succeed, by acting these groups have at least made their voices heard.

I plan to use this right to full advantage by informing myself about the conditions of the rest of the world, as well as my own society. I can then use what resources I have to try and make some degree of change either by informing others or reflecting on these issues and refusing to ignore them.

Due to the diversity of Canada, we have an ample opportunity to learn from each other by writing and sharing opinions, customs and beliefs. People are afraid of the unknown, yet if we educate one another we can learn to trust and unite as a nation.

(Buosi, 17, is in Grade 12 at St. Augustine  Secondary School in Brampton.)

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