Actions Speak Louder than Words: Why Ghazal Khan's Silence is Symbolic of other Women around the World

Muneeza Sheikh

While the couple that stood before thousands of people during the 2016 Democratic Convention on Thursday, July 28 was able to express their extreme sadness for the loss of their son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, in an extremely poignant way, there was perhaps more important take away from this speech.  Ghazala Khan proved that the powerful silence that one harnesses is stronger and mightier than what words could ever express. 

The image of Ghazala Khan standing by her husband is not one that she is ashamed of in any way because her strength of character allowed her to realize that she could silently beg for compassion and plea for empathy in spite of her intense pain and suffering. It was her courage that told her that these feelings can be felt by others, and that sometimes, there is no need for words.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Ghazala Khan revealed/admitted that “Donald Trump...said he would like to hear from me. Here is my answer to Donald Trump: Because without saying a thing, all the world, all America, felt my pain. I am a Gold Star mother. Whoever saw me felt me in their heart”. 

Ghazala Khan helped communicate to the world that the silence that some Muslim women practice around the world is a symbol of their tolerance of the lack of priority that they are sometimes given in comparison to other women. Moreover, Ghazala Khan emphasizes that although she felt terrified, “Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself. What mother could? Donald Trump has children whom he loves. Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?”, she admitted that, “Donald Trump said that maybe I wasn’t allowed to say anything. That is not true. My husband asked me if I wanted to speak, but I told him I could not. My religion teaches me that all human beings are equal in God’s eyes. Husband and wife are part of each other; you should love and respect each other so you can take care of the family”

Ghazala Khan showed her capacity for hope and strength in the face of extreme despair, and opened up to the world that sometimes it’s okay to stay silent and be strong at the same time. 



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