Four months ago, when I began this blog, I intended it to be “interesting, fun, and perhaps, a little intriguing.” But lately my wife and I are having increasing difficulty keeping a world event from overwhelming us. The war in Syria has been going on for over 5 years. According to CNN, over 300,000 people have died, 11.2 million people are without homes, and more than a million people have fled to Europe. Many have died during their exodus. The conflict shows no sign of ending, much less ending well.
The world seems unwilling or unable to stop the death and destruction. Recently, the situation has brought to mind the memory of Elie Wiesel. He died earlier this year. He was a survivor of the Buchenwald concentration camp in World War II. The camp was liberated by United States army soldiers, one of whom was my Father. After the war, Mr. Wiesel helped authorities find the people who ran the camps. He helped people who survived them. He became a finer human being in spite of his experience in them. He spent his life writing and lecturing about the importance of remembering what happened in them and stressed the necessity of not letting such human destruction happen again.
He said: “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.”
I ask myself: when will the world accept his wisdom and act upon his words to save itself. I have no answer.
Today, I was going to write something light and humorous. I can’t. Perhaps next time. This is a picture of Mr. Wiesel.