Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Night, by Elie Wiesel
I feel almost ashamed to admit the real reasons that I absolutely loved Night. However, if we are going to be brutally honest, I read this book at a time in my life when I was struggling with the most deadening depression that I have ever felt. I felt abandoned by everything and everyone, even the God that I put all my trust and love in. I was so devoid of feeling. Like someone once said to me "I couldn't even cry in Little Women when Beth received her piano." In fact, there was a time when I thought I'd lost the ability to cry.
I'm not saying that Night cured me of my depression. However, when I read this book I felt for the first time that there was someone on the planet that could express what I had not been able to. I immediately felt guilt-stricken for trying to compare my comparably perfect life with that of a Holocaust survivor. Nonetheless, I can't deny the connection that was made in my heart. My emptiness mimicked his own.
Whether you are looking to learn more about the Holocaust, more about the very basest of human nature, or to simply learn more about yourself, I would suggest "Night."
Here is a little excerpt from Wiesel's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech: "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 naive 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."