Elie Wiesel

Start Your Free Trial

To which emotion is Elie Wiesel trying to appeal in The Perils of Indifference?

Expert Answers info

Walter Fischer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2013

write4,028 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

Elie Wiesel was 15-years-old when he was imprisoned in and eventually liberated from German concentration camps.  He has subsequently spent the next 70 years with one main mission: warning the rest of humanity about the dangers of complacency.  That was the central theme of his April 12, 1999, speech at the White House, The Perils of Indifference, part of the Millenium Lecture Series that featured eminent individuals from myriad fields and walks of life.  Wiesel has born witness not just to the greatest display of human cruelty in history, but to the numerous examples of human cruelty that followed.  The epitaph of the Holocaust has long been “Never Again.”  Never again will the world stand idly by while autocratic regimes systematically exterminate entire peoples.  In his April 1999 speech, however, Wiesel sought to draw to the world’s leaders’ attention their abject failure to abide the admonishment against allowing another mass slaughter carried out on the basis of ethnic or religious differences.  It is for this reason he included in his speech the following recitation of the world’s failures during only one century of humanity’s existence:

“We are on the threshold of a new century, a new millennium. What will the legacy of this vanishing century be? How will it be remembered in the new millennium? Surely it will be judged, and judged severely, in both moral and metaphysical terms. These failures have cast a dark shadow over humanity: two World Wars, countless civil wars, the senseless chain of assassinations -- Gandhi, the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, Sadat, Rabin -- bloodbaths in Cambodia and Nigeria, India and Pakistan, Ireland and Rwanda, Eritrea and...

(The entire section contains 542 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial