It is a blank, wordless page, an empty canvas. It is the darkness of the night when ringing fills your ears. Some call it valuable – but the price is too high.

If you weigh your words against the price of silence; if you keep the price high, and don’t say anything – is silence still valuable? For millions of people around the world, it is not, and never has been.

Silence is a curse that they struggle to break free of, a burden they carry with them in their daily lives. Unable to voice their opinion, they live their lives at the hand of those above them: and they have never known anything different.

Compare that to the lives of some other people, and it is a comparison made stark by the prominence of technology and the internet in their lives. A desire to communicate fuels some people’s lives. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this – but there is something wrong with the fact that some people don’t have the luxury of communication, or freedom of speech, or the confidence to speak up.

Imagine being confined to your own mind. Your thoughts – brilliant or important as they might be – shunned, simply for the fact that they may differ from those in positions of power. Watching helplessly, wordlessly, as decisions are made and actions carried out, and you’re still silent.

Silence is valuable, but only if what you are going to say is not more valuable than a blank page, an empty canvas, or the ringing in your ears. For some people, being silent isn’t a choice – and so the people who are fortunate enough to be able to use their voice shouldn’t take that for granted. Those of us who can break the silence by speaking up should do so, on behalf of those who cannot.