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overed Mouths Still Have Voices Tom Western UCL Geography – firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract The title of this essay is a political slogan. It borrows from the chant of medical workers in Greece, who have been asserting that covered mouths still have a voice (“Και τα καλυμμένα στόματα βγάζουν φωνή”) since long before the Covid-19 pandemic began at the start of 2020. The slogan has become politically useful on wider scales since then, and I take it as a jumping off point – a means of understanding political techniques of vocality that have been retuned in pandemic contexts. My focus is on forms of vocal-spatial resistance, hearing how people contest political hierarchies of vocality that have been tightened during Covid, and create new spatialities of voice through pandemic activisms. The essay listens to how voices signal and sound out multiple forms of mobilisation, and it outlines a global sense of voice that develops as a result. From this, ways of hearing mouths and voices emerge not just in terms of speaking and sounding, or only as forms of identity and agency, but as a gathering, a refusal, a resource, a navigational tool, a transformation. Acknowledgements My thanks to friends in Athens. To Kareem al Kabbani and Urok Shirhan, whose soundworks resound into these pages. To Fani Kostourou, Pasqua Vorgia, and John Bingham-Hall for organising and running ‘The City Talks Back’. To Fadia Dakka for her kindness and patience in waiting for this essay to be done.
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