Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

'Indifference' to Violence Is 'Greatest Threat' to Moral Society/says Wiesel

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

'Indifference' to Violence Is 'Greatest Threat' to Moral Society/says Wiesel

Article excerpt

"Indifference" to violence and injustice is the "greatest threat" to a moral society based on law, members of the Oklahoma County Bar Association were told Thursday by Ellie Wiesel, winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize.

"Indifference to evil is evil," said Wiesel during the county bar's Law Day luncheon. "Not only is indifference to violence and injustice a threat, but also indifference to virtues and justice.

"We can do something about violence and dispair. We can even learn from dispair. Out of it comes poetry and literature. But with indifference, we end the process.

"Indifference to our own pain becomes our punishment."

Wiesel, a native of Sighet, Transylvania (which later became part of Rumania), has been a professor of humanities at Boston University since 1967. He survived Nazi concentration camps which were part of the Holocaust killing of millions of Jews.

He is known for his work in preserving the history of the Holocaust and for 26 books, including novels, essays and stories on Jewish culture and struggles.

To avoid indifference, the primary link of humans to a moral society is "memory," he said, to remember the tragedies of violence and injustice and to remember dedication to life.

Wiesel, who was named honorary president of American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, said preserving that memory is the reason people who took part in the Holocaust still must be brought to justice.

"It is our reconciliation with our memory and justice," he said.

However, he said the most difficult thing to fight is the "ugliness" who people who have written that the Holocaust never really occurred.

"They say our parents were not killed in these death camps," he said. "I don't know what to say to this. I don't know what to do to fight it. I never dignify it with debate."

Wiesel was asked to speak on building a moral society, but he said that can only be accomplished by understanding an immoral society. …

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