Friday, January 25, 2013

The desire to be heard

I've just listened to the BBC documentary Voices from the Ghetto, in which Polish Jews describe their daily lives in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II.  It's a sad account of what people can do to other people, but also a striking example of the strength of the human desire to be heard: to know that others know that you exist.

The texts read by actors in the documentary are a tiny fraction of the systematic records left by Jews of ghetto: recorded by individuals, copied in triplicate by a typing pool and periodically buried in metal cans to (hopefully) be found by posterity.  Such committment to the telling of their story!

In a funny way, it reminds me of Facebook.*  Why else do people record the minutiae of their lives (or, indeed, post increasingly outrageous pictures of themselves) if not from a longing to be seen and heard?  They may not have such a terrible or important story to tell but still, I hear echoes between the two in that common desire to be seen, heard and known.

* or, at least, Facebook as stereotypically used by teenagers...

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