Join Free! | Login    
   Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
Where Authors and Readers come together!


Featured Authors:  Sara Coslett, iDiana Perkins, iMiller Caldwell, iFrank Ryan, iGisele Vincent-Page, iKeith Dyne, iR.E.E.S Blogs Linda Smith, Publisher, i

  Home > Sept 11, 2001 > Articles Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

Matthew Arnold Stern

· + Follow Me
· Contact Me
· Books
· Articles
· Poetry
· Stories
· Messages
· 9 Titles
· 8 Reviews
· Save to My Library
· Share with Friends!
Member Since: Before 2003


Subscribe to the Matthew Arnold Stern Newsletter. Enter your name and email below and click "sign me up!"
Matthew Arnold Stern, click here to update your pages on AuthorsDen.

Books by Matthew Arnold Stern

The Evaluation
by Matthew Arnold Stern   

Last edited: Monday, October 28, 2002
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2002

  Print   Save    Follow    Share 

Recent articles by
Matthew Arnold Stern

Survive College by Being Flexible
A Writer's Oath
A Call for Understanding
Can Any Good Come from a Terrorist Attack?
           >> View all

If you could say anything to Osama bin Laden, what would you say? This was my test speech at Toastmasters evaluation speech contests in October 2002.

Fellow Toastmasters, most welcome guests, and most especially you, Osama bin Laden:

People communicate in lots of different ways. The words of poets like Omar Khayyam and Kahlil Gilbran reach out through the generations. Belly dancers can communicate without uttering a word by using their graceful movements.

Then, there are people who feel that the only way they can communicate is by committing murder.

As a Toastmaster, I am obligated to evaluate all forms of communication, even those I find abhorrent. So, Osama, I'm giving you your evaluation.

I am supposed to begin by saying something positive about your communication. As hard as it is to believe, there is something positive to say.

You made us pay attention. We Americans have a terrible habit of not paying attention, especially to what happens in the rest of the world. A comedian once said, "The news gets so bad that if it's not happening to Americans, I don't pay much attention." Well, we should have.

We should have paid attention to you. You gave us more than fair warning. Kenya. Tanzania. Yemen and the USS Cole.

We should have paid attention to your allies, the Taliban. How they persecuted religious minorities, smashed their religious icons, blew up their statues, and made them wear patches reminiscent of what the Nazis did sixty years ago. How they persecuted women, denying them medical care, education, and the slightest shred of dignity and decency entitled to them according to the Qur'an.

But we Americans haven't paid attention. We ignored you. We won't ignore you any more. So, in terms of getting us to pay attention, your form of communication was obviously effective.

But there is more to communication than making people pay attention. Your communication has to get the other person to listen to you and to understand you. Communication has to bring about change.

Did your communication bring about the change you hoped for, Osama? Let's look at your objectives, as you have defined in your speeches.

You said you want to "expel the Jews and Crusaders from the Land of the Two Shrines." Well, did you? No, Israel is still there and more determined than ever to survive.

You said you wanted to destroy the United States. Well, did you? No, in fact, your actions made Americans more united than we've been since World War II.

What did your communication accomplish, Osama? Defeat of your Taliban protectors. Deaths and arrests of a number of your associates. Disruption of your network and plans for further attacks. And more importantly, the deaths of thousands of innocent people. This doesn't sound like effective communication to me.

There are better ways to communicate. Those who would ignore a shout would strain to hear a whisper. Those who roll their eyes at threats will perk up their ears at a kind word.

I took our kids to the bookstore the other day. There, my youngest son Benjamin met another little boy named Omar. They had a great time checking out the books, playing with the stuffed animals, and messing up the displays. It didn't matter to Omar that we're Jews. And it didn't matter to us that Omar is a Muslim, and his mother and grandmother wore hijabs. The boys was just having fun, and Omar cried when his grandmother told him they're leaving.

True communication comes when we dare to open our hearts, reach out to others, and bridge the differences between people. That takes courage. It takes no daring to hate, no courage to murder.

I'm supposed to conclude an evaluation with some sort of advice for further action. My advice to you, Osama, is simple: Give up. Your brand of communication will never succeed. It doesn't matter how many skyscrapers you destroy or how many bars you blow up, you will never affect the change you seek. You will never get people to listen to you. You will never build understanding. You will never truly communicate.

The future belongs to people who can, like Benjamin and Omar. They have a courage you will never know -- the courage to open one's heart. That is true communication. The future belongs to people like them. It does not belong to people like you.

Web Site: Matthew Arnold Stern

Reader Reviews for "The Evaluation"

Want to review or comment on this article?
Click here to login!

Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!

Reviewed by Darlene Caban 8/6/2003
Now, if only you could get him to listen to this speech!

Did this speech win anything at the contest? If it didn't, it should have!
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 10/28/2002
WOW. WOW. you said a mouth-FULL. i join your audience in a standing ovation...BRAVO. what i'd say wouldn't be so have more restraint than i have! (((HUGS))) and love, karla. :)
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 10/28/2002
wow!!! powerful in its content; you did a great job with this! thanks for sharing!!
Popular Sept 11, 2001 Articles
  1. 13 Years of Lessons Since 911
  2. Why Afghanistan is just another half-baked
  3. 9 / 11 : PRESS For TRUTH
  4. Our First 9/11

Apache Lance, Franciscan Cross by Florence Weinberg

The year: 1731. Three Franciscan missions struggle to establish themselvs on the San Antonio River despite Apache raids. Missionary Fray Marcos and an Apache woman warrior, Ahuila,..  
BookAds by Silver, Gold and Platinum Members

Sir John Franklin by Anthony Dalton

A biography of the legendary English naval officer, diplomat and Arctic explorer who disappeared in the Arctic in 1845...  
BookAds by Silver, Gold and Platinum Members

Authors alphabetically: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us

Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen
AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.