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Speaking With Out Words

By: Rebecca Franklin

The Irish Tricolor Flag of Ireland
The Union Jack Flag of the United Kingdom
I know we are here in Derry to learn about the importance of dialogue, but I cannot help but see the non-verbal communication everywhere I look. One of the first days we were in Derry we received a lecture about dialogue and one of the points was that communication is done through many different mediums other than verbally. Here in Derry / Londonderry a person can say so much about themselves, their beliefs and their heritage without speaking a single word. This non verbal communication is done through: a persons last name, the flag they display in front of their home, and the most simple, the name of this city (Derry or Londonderry) on their business card. Reflecting back to my own culture in the United States I do not think we have as many symbols or non-verbal communication mediums. I know many people whose last name is of a completely different origin than their own personal ethnicity. To me it is amazing and in a way sad that people in Northern Ireland have so many symbols and non-verbal communication mediums that show many personal facts about themselves. Amazing in that you can reveal so much with out even having a conversation with a person, but sad in that information can be used to discriminate or used to target people for acts of violence.

The International Wall in Belfast
            Another form of non-verbal communication I have learned to appreciation is the murals that are seen through out Derry / Londonderry and Belfast. The cliché is a picture is worth a thousand words, but I do not think I had seen a true example of that until now. When looking at the murals they show such passion, anger, regret, sadness, and some even show hope. These artists have taken a blank wall and have the ability to show a range of emotions and messages through that medium. The murals in the Bogside and the International Wall in Belfast both were very moving to me. Looking at these giant canvases for a moment I could feel the emotions of the times and events they were portraying. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, to me, these pictures were a time machine. Hopefully the people of Northern Ireland can use these as a reminder of the hurt and destruction of the Troubles, and find the inspiration to seek lasting peace.

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