I did not write this, but I wanted to share it because it is important that we remember to speak out about injustice in the world.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/edmundburk377528.html
former political prisoner in the Soviet Union, current chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and friend of Wiesel.
Elie Wiesel’s great mission on behalf of Soviet Jews
By Natan Sharansky, op-ed in the Washington Post on July 4
Perhaps better than anyone else of our age, Elie Wiesel grasped the terrible power of silence. He understood that the failure to speak out, about both the horrors of the past and the evils of the present, is one of the most effective ways there is to perpetuate suffering and empower those who inflict it.
Wiesel therefore made it his life’s mission to ensure that silence…
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Of course Black Lives Matter. White Lives Matter. Asian Lives Matter. LGTBQIA Live Matter. Blue Lives Matter. They are all human and by virtue of that fact, they have an inherent dignity. No one can take that away from them. What can happen is that people deny them that dignity. They see their body as all they are, while ignoring the part that makes them a human being: their soul or essence; their humanity. None of these people are diminished by their race, religion, sexual orientation or occupation. None are elevated to unassailable heights because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or occupation, either. Humans are vain, wonderful, flawed, and beautiful, but most of all, they are human; with all the pitfalls and virtues inherent in that word.
We’ve seen far too often what happens when someone looks at another human being and decides they have no worth, no dignity, no value: Death, pain, anger, and an endless spiral of blame. And then the circle of violence begins again. There seems to be no end to the violence we can perpetrate on each other. White on black, black on white, white on white, black on black. Sure, we feel strongly about our stances, values and opinions, but do we really really think those stances, values and opinions are more important than someone’s life? Yes, there are people who think that, but am I alone in hoping they are the very tiny fraction of a minority?
So, how can we get to the place where we can say that ALL lives matter: black, white, Asian, Hispanic, gay, lesbian, transgender? How do we come to the point where we can look at someone with whom we disagree and say, ‘no, I don’t agree with the things you do or say, but I recognize your right to life’? Thomas Jefferson wrote that ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’. But are these ‘truths’ truly self-evident? Not if we look at each other as the enemy and think ‘well, better you than me’. Life is short and precious and, for all we know, we’re alone in the universe. So why can’t we see each other as allies, instead of the ‘other’?
The problem? Diversity is hard. What is easy is insulating yourself from the world around you so nothing challenges you. Because challenges are hard. It’s not easy to allow someone who thinks differently from you to stretch your thinking. This goes for everyone. Isolating yourself from anyone who is different is easy. It’s safe. But it’s not right. Finding out someone else’s story forces you to utilize your sympathy and empathy. It challenges those ideas you felt were unassailable and right, no questions asked.
Change can only come when we recognize and honor that humanity in others; when the dirty, barefoot, inadequately fed and clothed child sitting in the slums of whichever Third World country is as deserving of life and liberty as the richest billionaire in the world.