One Minute

We had a one minute silence today at work. This is something I would not normally partake in, but I happened to be sat with someone at that moment who wanted to show their respects and so I complied.

For one minute I sat and considered how truly foolish that minutes silence was.

In my mind I counted, not the seconds but the half-seconds; trying to reach over a hundred in clearly enunciated silent words before the minute was up. I managed to get to eighty-six when the PA announcement said the minute was up.


I was twenty-two shy of my target of one hundred and eight.

One hundred and eight was the amount of people who die every minute on this planet Earth. This is almost two people a second and there I was partaking in a minutes silence for just thirty-eight of them.

In my minute of forced respect another one hundred and eight souls had died, and I couldn’t help wondering why we didn’t have a minutes silence for them, and then another for those lost in THAT minute.

We could go on forever this way.

Its sad that these thirty-eight people died, this is true; but what makes the need to remember them so more pressing than the one hundred and eight that dies in the very minute we were being silent?

Somehow I can’t help but feel this is wrong, that this minutes silence is in some way why these things are wrong; at least in some small way.

Why are some lives more important than others, why are some remembered the length and breadth of this country while others aren’t.

What makes my Grandfathers death less important than one of the thirty-eight? What will make mine?

By singling out one person to give a minutes silence to we are ignoring the others; by respecting the thirty-eight we ignore the one hundred and eight.

Its food for thought I think, perhaps something many of us should have been thinking about during that minute; and perhaps every other minute that follows.

2 thoughts on “One Minute”

  1. Interesting post this. We also had a one minute silence and it occurred to me two things:

    1. Who else was born and who else died during that minute
    2. How frustrated some people are to get that one singular minute out of the way so that they can carry on with their business

    So part 1 echoes very much your sentiments, it’s a very sad situation in Tunisia, but it’s sad when anyone passes away. Part 2 is the slow gradual decay of patience, empathy and respect of larger events in life. The latter is of great concern, I think

  2. Thanks Ismunn, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who felt odd about it.

    I also felt that their deaths were being used as a symbol of some kind. It made me think of the Two Minute Hate from Orwell’s 1984, was this in order to raise a kind of nation wide anger about the deaths or was it a genuine attempt at “showing respect”.

    But how can you really show respect to someone you didn’t know?

    I mean we ALL stopped for that minute, but did any of us know any of their names?

    It all seemed very odd to me.

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