I have lost my voice.
Yesterday morning I woke up and it wasn’t there. Just a hoarse, painful whisper left in its place.
Given I’m a relatively orderly person, I must presume that its absence is the result of this viral infection my body is currently fighting rather than some absentmindedness on my part.
And I miss it.
And yet, I have only lost my voice temporarily and physically. It will return in a few days – and in the meantime, I can write emails and blog posts and whisper to my family. And I find myself wondering what it must be like for those who do not have a voice to start with – the poor, the oppressed, the young – and those whose voice has been taken from them – the tortured, the beaten, the abused, the murdered.
From my place of privilege, I cannot imagine what it must be like to live a non-privileged, indeed a forgotten, life. While I may be ill right now, I still have access to affordable healthcare, clean water to drink, the internet to keep me amused – which means I have both electricity and literacy – a house large enough to pace around, books I can read, a husband who cares for me and is willing to share the household load, and (despite their protestations) my children are not actually starving because I am sick.
Perhaps I should stop reading social anthropology texts while I am ill? (In this instance, Paul Farmer’s Pathologies of Power)
Or perhaps I should, while enjoying and appreciating my privileged life, do my utmost to ensure that my privilege does not come at the price of someone else’s voice.