Schlagwort-Archive: Krieg

Is there a right to silence? Silence as a reason for vigilance during the war in Ukraine

von Kateryna Yeremieieva

One particular reason to be vigilant

When does silence as an absence of statements become a cause for vigilance? At what moment is public attention directed toward silence and not only toward statements? We can see this in challenging crises like war when dividing people into insiders and outsiders suddenly becomes necessary to unite and develop further strategies and common concepts for describing reality. In a warring society, moral imperatives are actualised, built on the opposition of speaking out (affirming loyalty, for example, to one’s state and acting on its behalf) and silence, which becomes unacceptable (namely, the antithesis of social mobilisation, irresponsibility, betrayal, and support of the enemy). Silence became an attribute: “the one, who has been silent since 24 February”. Clear statements against the common enemy become an obligation due to the pressure in public space because the ambiguity of any communicative acts, both statements and silence, is perceived especially painfully during the aggravation of conflicts. The silence of those expected to speak out is even more alarming and more closely scrutinised than publicly unacceptable statements. In this text, I want to show that in times of war, attention to silence is sometimes of even greater importance than talking. We can analyse the nature of this phenomenon in the context of the war in Ukraine since 2022.

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