Musallam Al Barrak Speech in 2012 Essay
Rhetorical analysis of the text can be held on the basis of any text, should it be an advertisement, a newspaper article, a speech, or a story. The main objective of the rhetorical analysis is to detect and study the connections and interactions between the text, the author of the text, and its target audience.
Basically, the point of the rhetorical analysis of the text is to read carefully and closely in order to have a deeper understanding of the meaning and contents of the text. This paper is focused on rhetorical analysis of the political speech of Musallam Al Barrak given as a provocative address to the Amir and held on behalf of the free people of Kuwait.
Since the rhetorical analysis of the text is focused on the understanding and examination of the text in-depth, it is crucial to conduct background research and find out who the author of the text and the target audience were. Musallam Al Barrak is the former Kuwaiti lawmaker, who has a heavy political weight in contemporary Kuwait. Barrak is known for its fiery temper and expressive addresses. This political has never spared the words or made his expressions milder to confront the policies or leaders he deemed unjust or improper.
The people of Kuwait know Barrak as the ultimate and fierce protector of the Constitution and the power of law. The former lawmaker often protested the enforcement of laws he considered corrupt. In the speech analyzed in this paper, Barrak gives a passionate address to the Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah and his attempt to enforce the one-man rule on the territory of Kuwait and depower the country’s democracy and human rights.
The speech was accepted very well by the public; many citizens supported Barrak and his views partly because his speech was fashioned in a very skillful way and was focused on engaging the masses and calling them to act. The inspirational speech worked very well; many citizens of Kuwait marched together, supporting the former lawmaker. In spite of such immense support from the side of the citizens, the politician still was put in jail, as according to the laws of Kuwait, such an address is offensive to the Emir and has to be punished.
Rhetorical analysis of the text of Barrak’s speech is focused on the identification of means that helped the author engage the crowd, inspire, and earn support and trust.
The combination of ethos, pathos, and logos in this text allowed the author to achieve incredible goals, convince the people of Kuwait to follow him even though what they did together was against the current policies protecting the country leader. Rhetorical analysis of Barrak’s speech follows the composition of words, sentences, implications, and meanings together with the emotional stimuli in order to locate the sources of this speech’s power and influence.
The speech can be divided into three main elements. The first one is the initial part of the speech, where Barrak introduces his address and explains what it is going to be about. He mentions the Emir and states that his violations of law and abuse of authority are the cause of Barrak’s and Kuwaiti citizens’ dissatisfaction. In the initial part of his speech, Barrak also makes his main statement, which is very noticeable and easy to detect.
He uses repetition with the purpose of attracting the attention of the masses and to create a closer connection between himself and his audience. In reference to the employment of one-man rule in Kuwait he shouts out “we will never allow!” nine times in a row with an ascending intonation, which causes the escalation of the emotions in the audience, so that the end of the sentence, in which Barrak explains what exactly he does not want to allow, is accepted in the most passionate way (محمد البطي 2012).
This is a good demonstration of ethos, as it shows the character of the speaker, his fiery temper, and the seriousness of his intentions (Rosenwasser & Stephen 2003). Barrak uses repetitions several times throughout his speech; this is another sign of his special style and also his desire to emphasize certain parts of the address.
The speaker confronts the state leader in a rather open-minded manner, which is an ultimate demonstration of the charisma and fearless character of Barrak, as giving this speech he knew he was pushing the limits of the Kuwaiti law directed to protect its leader.
The second part of Barrak’s speech is the most informative. Here the speaker integrates a number of techniques designed to provoke the audience’s response and support, and this is when he uses pathos that is responsible for the emotional aspect of the text (Edlund n. d.). First of all, Barrak several times mentions God, applying to the religiousness and faith of his listeners. One can hear how the audience reacts to these remarks. Secondly, Barrak quotes Rakan Bin Kathleen, saying that “brevity is the soul of wit” (محمد البطي 2012).
This way, the speaker exploits cultural and religious stimulations to earn closer connection with the audience and achieve a better response. Barrak notes that “there are two main things that concern people the most: life and sustenance” and they are in the hands of God, but not the Emir (محمد البطي 2012). This statement implies that the Emir tries to act as if he was a God, which cannot be allowed by the crowd, as they have on God only.
Such implication frames the political leader of Kuwait as power greedy and vain and sets the masses against him and his decisions. Emotionally, true believers would reject the Emir after Barrak’s statement. Further, the speaker employs some other powerful techniques such as flattery and praise.
He first states that “people do not count,” insinuating that this is the way of thinking of the state leaders, and then he contradicts his previous statement praising the people and calling them free, dignified, and determined as if protecting them from the unjust and ignorant politicians. This was Barrak automatically sides himself with the people and speaks on their behalf, as a messenger.
Logos, identified by Edlund (n. d.) as the application of logical facts and argument occurs when the speaker mentions the Emir’s salary, his promises from the past that never were put into practice, and his boasting. Barrak relies on facts accusing the Emir’s abuse of his authority. In the third and final part of his address, the former lawmaker asks the Emir about the ways he would like the history to remember him.
Basically, he calls the Emir a tyrant without directly stating it but instead asking him if this is what the Emir really wants to be known as due to his actions. After that, Barrak employs a hidden warning by stating that “violence breeds counter-violence” (محمد البطي 2012).
This remark means that the abused people of Kuwait sooner or later would react and stand up for themselves. Barrak starts speaking for the people noting that they do not want violence, but it may occur as a necessary measure. The final praise of his audience positions the citizens of Kuwait as the protectors of the Constitution automatically and sides them against the Emir, who is presented as the violator of the law.
The pattern that is easy to notice in the text of the speech is the interchange of criticism towards the actions of the Emir and praise towards the audience protesting against these actions. Bringing up these contrasts and adding some cultural and religious factors, Barrak acts as the ultimate stimulus for the audience. His speech is extremely passionate and emotional, by repeatedly chanting his motto Barrak heats up the crowd and serves as the catalyst of the protest.
The repetitive praise that occurs several times through the speech supports the audience’s reactions and silently assures that their actions are right and need to be continued. As it is known, Barrak’s speech was designed to achieve something that is not allowed in Kuwait – to openly and aggressively go against the country’s leader. To accomplish this is a risky mission, the former lawmaker needed immense support; this is why his speech was meant to be extremely emotional and powerful.
محمد البطي. (2012). مسلم البراك للأمير لن نسمح لك. Web.
Edlund, J. R. Ethos, Logos, Pathos: Three Ways to Persuade. Web.
Rosenwasser, D., Stephen, J. (2003). Writing Analytically. (3rd ed). Boston, MA: Thompson Learning.
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