Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Power of Two Minutes Silence

I was at a conference on the Middle East this morning. In between the discussions on infrastructure needs, banking capacity and market trends there was a two minute silence at 11am: marking the armistice that was signed in 1918 and came into force on the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month.

Everyone in the room rose to respect the silence.

This was a powerful statement. It is a contrast with contrived anniversaries, think of the UN or even your local council with their innumerable ‘Day of X special interest group’ or ‘Month of Y target voters’, and you can see the difference.

There are no laws compelling us to carry out this act of remembrance. Nobody is fined for non-compliance or gets their names put on a state database.

Instead, it is a voluntary act: the more powerful and welcome for being so.

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