I apologize to the dozen or so folks who read the blog – between work, travel, & guests I haven’t had time to post (which I really hate). To be honest, I still don’t have a whole lot of time; but I wanted to at least write something.
On the plane ride out to San Diego I finished reading Night by Elie Wiesel. For those who are unaware, it’s a recounting of his experiences in Nazi concentration camps during WWII – including the loss of his entire family.
His speech upon receiving the Noble Peace Prize can be found here: http://www.pbs.org/eliewiesel/nobel/index.html. A particular bit that stuck with me:
I remember: it happened yesterday, or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the Kingdom of Night. I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deporation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.
I remember he asked his father, “Can this be true? This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?”
And now the boy is turning to me. “Tell me,” he asks, “what have you done with my future, what have you done with your life?” And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.
And then I explain to him how naïve we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.
Amen … dear God, Amen.