Bearing Witness

Whether it is the man who abuses his wife, the bully in the schoolyard, the mean boss at work, or a nation that gasses its own people, we should consider the words of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel:

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”

7 thoughts on “Bearing Witness

  1. I’m also reminded of Martin Niemueller’s “First they came for the…” statement/poem.
    We also see, in today’s world of social media, that there are many ways of “bearing witness” and “speaking out.”
    I’m trusting that there are more opportunities to shine a spotlight on the suffering and the oppressed than there were in the days when Wiesel and Niemueller were living through their ordeals.
    At the same time, I think there are also many choices as to how to bear witness and speak out and carry those into action that actually stops the abuse.
    May we each/all choose wisely, according to our own conscience, in each circumstance.

  2. Similar words Churchill spoke,
    And we in the US must remember to remind our so-called leaders we live in a glass house especially at present. Killing to stop others from being killed is hypocritical and immoral.
    US napalmed (Agent Orange) and wiped out countless Vietnamese villages and the majority of Americans labeled those of us who “spoke out”, protested in the streets “un-American”.

    • Very true! And how many children have been killed by bullets and other means in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Congo, Sudan . . . It seems we are very “selective” in our response to who is doing the killing.

      • I realize we did terrible things in Vietnam. I am living in the present. I cannot change the past. Maybe I can have an impact on the present which might impact the future. I hope the diplomatic solution works. I do not want to see more children or adults killed with chemical weapons. Margaret Eubank

  3. We need to do something about the killing of innocent children with chemical gas in Syria, I’m not sure about the best way to do this. Margaret Eubank

  4. One of the things I really like about President Obama is his willingness to change course. He seemed cautiously optimistic that a diplomatic solution could now be achieved and I do credit his pressure with being a significant factor in Syria’s willingness to now surrender the the chemicals. But I also agree with Margaret that those responsible need to be help accountable. I hope the international community will band together and see to it that they are prosecuted.

    • I agree that those who used chemical weapons on innocent children should be held accountable. I’m not sure the best way to accomplish this. I don’t know how long it will take to accomplish this diplomatically. Margaret Eubank

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