2010 – 7th Grade 3rd Place Winner

Lula Hyers, New York

Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword?

Expressing thought through words is wiser but it is not mightier. Action has a more profound and immediate effect on change than words. Humans often are not thinking about how their acts of violence, in pursuit of their cause, affect other people. Currently, America is involved in two long and brutal wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Our president, Barak Obama, a man respected and honored for his inspirational words on change, has re-enforced the idea of violence by sending additional troops into war with Afghanistan. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Barak Obama said, “I know there is nothing naive in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King, but as head of state, I can not be guided by their examples alone.”

Humans are brought up with the idea that using words is what they should do to resolve conflict. Think of your daily life. However, how often do you choose the sword over the pen? For many people the answer is habitual. Violence is part of people’s daily routine. Humans witness violence everyday. A person can be so desensitized to violence, that acts peace and acts of violence can be indistinguishable.

Using words does not always win. Sometimes words cause catastrophic results. For example, when someone lies. In the future, the result of that lie could lead to violent confrontation. The pen is not as innocent as it seems. Socrates once said, “False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.” Though we want to believe human progress is in an advanced state, that is not necessarily the case. Humans commit so many violent acts in their daily life, that they hide from themselves. Even whin you are on the street and you push through a crowd instead of waiting for it to clear, that is choosing violence over words.

A perfect example of violence being dominant in society is the Iraq and Afghanistan war. From 2004 through 2009, at least 20,119 people have been killed and 53,435 people have been injured in Afghanistan alone. In Iraq however, the number is much higher with 733,280 people killed and 1,398,087 people injured. No successful attempts have been made to mediate. This goes to show that no matter what the situation comes to, violence can always be an option.

Violence is in video games, online, in movies, in books, in songs, and even in school. Abdi Assadi, a Buddhist guru and spiritual writer believes that violence breeds violence. The more violence there is in a culture the more humans become desensitized to see it. This can be seen night after night on the news. It’s hard to remember the power of words when we are drowning in violence. In many of the situations we see in our everyday life, we often see violence is the means to the end.

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