Monday, August 18, 2008

If Indifference were to fear a face!


"Indifference elicits no response. Indifference is not a response. Indifference is not a beginning; it is an end. And, therefore, indifference is always the friend of the enemy, for it benefits the aggressor -- never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten. The political prisoner in his cell, the hungry children, the homeless refugees -- not to respond to their plight, not to relieve their solitude by offering them a spark of hope is to exile them from human memory. And in denying their humanity, we betray our own.
Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment."

-Elie Wiesel-
http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/ewieselperilsofindifference.html


Elie Wiesel is one of the most noted voices to speak out against indifference. Number A-7713, that was who he was. Another Number among the German concentration camps. It shaped who he became... Another hope in this new world in which indifference strips us of our humanity!

"Fifty-four years ago to the day, a young Jewish boy from a small town in the Carpathian Mountains woke up, not far from Goethe's beloved Weimar, in a place of eternal infamy called Buchenwald. He was finally free, but there was no joy in his heart. He thought there never would be again. Liberated a day earlier by American soldiers, he remembers their rage at what they saw. And even if he lives to be a very old man, he will always be grateful to them for that rage, and also for their compassion. Though he did not understand their language, their eyes told him what he needed to know -- that they, too, would remember, and bear witness."

-Excerpts from his Speech 'The Perils of Indifference'-

For 10 years after the war, Wiesel refused to write about or discuss his experiences during the Holocaust. Like many survivors, Wiesel could not find the words to describe his experiences. However, a meeting with Fran├žois Mauriac, the 1952 Nobel Laurate in Literature, who eventually became Wiesel's close friend, persuaded him to write about his experiences of the Holocaust.

Wiesel first wrote the 900-page tome Un di velt hot geshvign (And the World Remained Silent), in Yiddish. Later translated to many languages.

"I was the accuser, God the accused. My eyes were open and I was alone – terribly alone in a world without God and without man." Elie Wiesel

In 1955, Wiesel moved to New York City, having become a U.S. citizen. Wiesel wrote over 40 books, both fiction and non-fiction, and won many literary prizes. Wiesel's writing is considered among the most important in Holocaust literature. Some historians credit Wiesel with giving the term 'Holocaust' its present meaning, but he does not feel that the word adequately describes the event and wishes it were used less frequently to describe significant occurrences as everyday tragedies.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for speaking out against violence, repression, and racism. He has received many other prizes and honors for his work, including the Congressional Gold Medal in 1985.

Wiesel and his wife, Marion, started the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. He served as chairman for the Presidential Commission on the Holocaust (later renamed U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council) from 1978 to 1986, spearheading the building of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

- Joseph John


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