Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize winner and survivor of Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald, recently published a new translation of his very first book, Night, originally issued in 1958. The new translation from the original French edition is provided by his wife, Marion.
Wiesel has written over forty books.
He claims this first one is the most essential.
Nighttells the story of Wiesel's experience as a 15-year-old boy in the horror camps of death where he lost his family, his innocence and his orthodox Jewish faith.
I am walking through the short volume right now. It is tough reading, but powerful and gripping.
In one terrible passage Wiesel describes his reaction to witnessing the hanging of a young boy who had the face of a "sad angel."
As the crowd watched his death, someone behind the young Wiesel groaned, "For God's sake, where is God?"
"And from within me, I heard a voice answer: Where He is? This is where--hanging from this gallows."
In a recent interview with Time magazine, Wiesel pondered what would be required to redirect humanity away from violence and self-destruction.
When asked where we should start, he provided a thoughtful reply:
"We should fight hatred. There should be a Biblical commandment: Thou shalt not hate. And there is indifference. Everyone can fall into this trap. It's so easy to enter into indifference and stay there. An indifferent person remains indifferent unless shaken up. These are the most important subjects in the world." (Time, January 30, 2006, page 8)
I believe he is onto something here. How about you?
Removing hate from our hearts and our neighborhoods and our cities--talk about changing things from the inside out! Each of us can go to work on this goal today, can't we? Right inside where we live and decide the issues of life.
Wiping out indifference? Equally important as we renew our individual and collective commitment to building healthy and functional communities for everyone.
Both objectives call on me to open my heart to others, to adopt humility as a way of life and, simply put, to never give up.
In explaining his own hope in the face of the horrific power of evil in the world, Wiesel quoted Albert Camus who once wrote, "Where there is no hope, one must invent hope."
Wiesel's wisdom and commitment to never allowing us to forget the truth of his own terrible past, propels us to embrace a new hope even in the face of the most daunting of urban challenges associated with entrenched poverty and injustice.
Pick up a copy of Night. You will be moved deeply.
Larry's new book, now available from Amazon.com! Also, now in Kindle format! To place your order visit Amazon.com today! Also, available at Barnes and Noble bookstores and on the web. Click on the image above to order!
Larry James' Urban Daily
A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
Today and throughout 2013, we need your support to continue our life-changing work in inner-city Dallas. Every day hundreds of our wonderful neighbors arrive at our doors seeking our assistance, offering their help and prepared to pursue a better life. Frankly, the folks we "serve" make essential contributions to the scope, nature and soul of the work we attempt. At CitySquare we honor and recognize the amazing value and richness of our low-income neighbors. During 2012, almost 55,000 different people received the benefit of our wide-ranging services designed to assist in the process of building better lives. We need your help TODAY as we continue to respond to the needs of our community. Even more, we need you to become our PARTNER in the work of compassion and community renewal--work that continues day after day at CitySquare.