The world lost a great humanitarian this month. Elie Wiesel died on July 2, 2016. He was 87 years old. He entrusted us with his legacy and we must never forget.
I knew of Eli Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, a survivor of Auschwitz, author and humanitarian, but I confess I had not read his most notable memoir, Night. I read his book this week, in one sitting. The most recent edition is 120 pages and is a new translation in English by his wife, Marion Wiesel.
I cried through the entire book. I had to find a box of tissue before I finished the preface, which read in part,
“If in my lifetime I was to write only one book, this would be the one….Did I write it so as not to go mad or, on the contrary, to go mad in order to understand the nature of madness, the immense, terrifying madness that had erupted in history and in the conscious of mankind?” ~ Wiesel
My heart still aches having read of the atrocities he witnessed and endured as a teenager in the concentration camps during World War II. I can’t imagine a world where such things happen, where humans inflict so much suffering on their fellow man. And yet this is our world – humanity’s history. Night, is Wiesel’s legacy and a reminder to the human race of our potential for great evil, and great good.
“Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere.” ~ Wiesel
We must all ask ourselves how we can best serve humanity. Because as Elie so eloquently stated when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize:
“There is so much to be done, there is so much that can be done. One person of integrity can make a difference, a difference of life and death….Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.” ~ Wiesel
After reading Elie Wiesel’s book I was inspired to write this poem, Rise Up in Love.
do you hear the wailing cries of humanity
echoing through time and past atrocities?
have we lost our minds? we must not lose our hearts
when consumed with fear, humanity comes apart
our hearts know our true selves
love is where the heart dwells
we must quiet our minds and be still
and listen to our beloved’s goodwill
hear the call of our beloved proclaim
rise up in love for your neighbor without blame
rise up in service to humanity; we are all one
never forget; there is much to be done!