Silence: A Form of Violence

Silence is a form of linguistic violence. The violence is apparent in what is communicated by the lack of speaking. Or as illustrated in the circumstances of this 18 February Climate Change news report, linguistic violence may present itself as the veiling or suppression of the truth. Purposefully influencing what may or may not be said can be a means for “the powerful alteration of reality”, which is a type of coercion and a form of violence, even when on the surface silence may seem rather benign (Apressyan, 1998). Therefore violent language does not even need to be heard in order to be violent.

Here is an excerpt of the report:
Joyce Labrecque, Andy, Jeri Labrecque, Marc Labrecque, Daniel Labrecque, Luc Labrecque, Richard Labrecque, Robert Labreque, Karla Labrecque, Jules Labrecque, Simone Labrecque, Donald Labrecque, Erin Labrecque and Thera Breau. Published with permission of Karla and Alain Labrecque. Erin Steele/Peace River Record-Gazette/

Meet The Family The Tar Sands Industry Wants To Keep Quiet


Meet The Family The Tar Sands Industry Wants To Keep Quiet

There is an abandoned house in Alberta, Canada, where Alain Labrecque used to live. Tucked in the farming community of Peace River, it is a place brimming with personal history, rooted to his grandfather’s land where his parents and eight aunts and uncles grew up, and where Alain’s own children were born. Now, Alain’s property and the surrounding area are primarily home to large, black cylinders of oil.

The oil is from Alberta’s much-famed tar sands, a large area of land that contains clay, bitumen, and a good deal of sand. Inside the tanks, heavy crude from the sands is heated, until it becomes viscous enough to transport. Many of those tanks currently vent freely into the atmosphere.

As the third-largest proven crude oil reserve in the world and the key ingredient of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, and with production value that is expected to nearly triple by 2018, the Canadian tar sands have become an unseen symbol in America. For some, that symbol represents jobs, energy security, and economic prosperity. For others, it’s pollution, addiction to fossil fuels, and a threat to a livable climate. What generally is not conveyed, however, is an image of the families who live there, and who have been there long before the tar sands boom.

Continue reading Climate Progress News Article here.   


Apressyan, R. G. (1998). Violent speech. Peace Review, 10(4), 587.

© Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog, 2013-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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