That shaming …
It’s evident in the tattooed number the Nazis put on Elie Wiesel’s forearm in Buchenwald.
Nelson Mandela had a number as well. A penitentiary number. A government dehumanized him as 46664, locking him away for 27 years.
You know how the 46664 story turned out, of course.
Prisoner to President. It’s a tribute to rights and justice.
Lesser known may be Wiesel who passed away yesterday (2 July) at 87.
He survived the Holocaust to write Night. A 127-page book about death in the concentration camps.
Smoke from the chimneys carried away the innocent faces of children. That’s his image, his memory.
At 127 pages Night is short but terrifying. It’s hardly bearable.
Many agree that it’s good that it’s alarming.
Still, Wiesel left us a message about that.
He said, ‘Because I remember I despair … because I remember I have the duty to reject despair’.
There’s an abiding faith in humanism and the future in that.
Optimism … even after wreathes of smoke spilled from the chimney tops.
Maybe that’s why Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama looked to him for inspiration.
Many will now read and re-read Night. Many of the unborn will come to read it as well.