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Essay: When the Tongue is Quicker than the Brain, the Word is a Deadly Bullet

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"One, two or hundreds of wrong words, said at any time, can turn to be killers", writes journalism student Vanja Micevska in her essay written under the auspices of the project “Young Promoters of Freedom of Expression”, implemented by the NGO Infocentre and the Youth Education Forum. Following is the full text of Micevska’s essay, published in agreement with the NGO Infocentre.

Young people write their ideas of freedom on a blackboard in down-town Skopje

There he goes! He again used his most powerful weapon. The bad word – the intruder, left his mouth as quick as lightning. The uninvited guest always manages to reach deep under the skin. That bullet always hits hard and leaves wounds that no physician has ever learned how to treat. To her, it comes out of nowhere, she wouldn’t believe her own ears, she doesn’t want it to be true. It hurts again… it hurt her so hard, just like the last time. This is not the first time he uses that kind of bullet against her, but each individual shot finds its own spot and makes its mark.

And she is not the only one bearing scars left by that type of violence. Big or small, poor or well off, nobody is capable enough to stay calm when hit by a bad word. The bastard makes you miserable, in a moment you start feeling sick. It is in those moments that the victims use different ways to deal with their assailants.

Some respond in kind and use the same weapon to stand their ground. And then we have a war of words. They shoot, bullets flying all over the place, one catching the next. Shooting and shouting… it all blends together and the people turn into spiders spinning a web that they can’t themselves escape. After all, some of them don’t even want to escape. All that matters is that they prove louder than their opponents.

Others retort in a different way. They don’t care to enter their vocal cords in such a contest. Those soldiers are silent. Yes, they are soldiers waging a war, but they are also silent because the others can’t see them fighting. The struggle with themselves, their fight is internal. They say nothing in front of others. Their only true audience is the solitude. Only solitude witnesses their internal urge to scream, only solitude has proof that somebody screamed with anger and sadness.

People pledge love to each other, swear to loyalty, all the time, all over the world. At the same time, at the other end… trust me, there are those who once loved each other and the love is now dying. One of them erupted in anger and insulted the other. The other was offended and hit back.

The speech emerged as a ways for people to understand each other, but it seems at times that the goal was not achieved. You can sing of the stars and the Moon, you can turn one’s stomach in a sky with countless butterflies, you can trick one into giving you the sweetest smile, but don’t forget that you can also talk. Open your mouth and you can make a mistake, so better watch what will come out of it. You can talk honey all the time, but shoot once and nothing will ever be the same.

The offensive word and the high tone of voice are the miscreants that would turn you into a beast, raising doubts about your love. At the moments when rage takes over and you forget all self-control, you create the room for hatred and manifestation of your wrath.

But it doesn’t end there. Then we have the struggle between ambiguity and hatred at the one who suffered the insult. One, two or hundreds wrong words, spoken at any time, are killers. It doesn’t matter which contestant wins – what is important is the certainty that somebody will be a victim. The thing that was built through lots of hard work, care and respect will expire. The thing that made one feel like he or she was threading the clouds and float above ground can easily be buried… rubbed in just as the scars of the heart.

And yes, when the tongue is quicker than the brain, friends become strangers, the past is reduced to a nice memory, while the present turns into a bitter future that stings and bites. All that a person swore in is in vain… the negatives he or she says turn into an iceberg that sinks the ship he or she sailed together with another person, the tornado that destroys the home built together, the needle the stabs the heart… the bullet that kills love!

The “Young Promoters of Freedom of Expression” programme stimulates the youth to use essays, multimedia products and campaigns they design on their own, to become active citizens fighting for freedom of expression, against hate-speech, stereotypes and labeling. The essays, multimedia products and campaigns are authored by high-school and university students just entering the public scene and seeking free space for themselves and their views.

The “Young Promoters of Freedom of Expression” Programme, financed by EU EIDHR instrument, is implemented by the NGO Infocentre and the Youth Education Forum. The contents is sole responsibility of the NGO Infocentre and the Youth Education Forum and does not reflect the views and positions of the European Union in any way or fashion.

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