When Wiesel accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, he said that “indifference" is the greatest source of evil and danger in the world.” He also suggested that if humanity ever forgets the Holocaust,...
When Wiesel accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, he said that “indifference" is the greatest source of evil and danger in the world.” He also suggested that if humanity ever forgets the Holocaust, “we are guilty, we are accomplices.” Do you agree with this political point of view?
One of Wiesel's strengths is that his work operates as both historical, but also ethical. Wiesel's work is dedicated to the proposition that human beings have a role in impacting the lives of others. Even after the terror of the Holocaust, Wiesel concludes firmly that human beings possess the capacity to change lives for the better. This rests in the idea of human beings taking action and not remaining indifferent. For Wiesel, this is critical both in his Nobel Prize speech, but also in his life's work.
For my part, I do agree with him. I understand the idea of not wanting to "do harm." Yet, Wiesel's point is that individuals do harm in being indifferent. In being a bystander, Wiesel makes clear that individuals actually "embolden the aggressor." I think that this is the moral issue in which Wiesel clearly identifies the need to take action is critical. For Wiesel, the "indifference" or forgetting about the Holocaust helps to lay the groundwork for it happening again. It is for this reason that Wiesel believes that works such as Night are critical in taking action because they preserve memory and move away from the realm of indifference. I, for one, find this ethical narrative to be quite compelling.