Growing, Not Dying

Welcome to my insights, ponderings, and experiences. Hopefully they will enrich you in some small way, or at least make you laugh.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Reacting to Oprah's "Night"

This evening I decided to iron clothes and catch up on some Oprah recorded on my DVR. The first episode I came across and watched was the one where they announced the 50 essay contest winners who had written concerning the book "Night "and author Elie Wiesel was in studio. Professor Wiesel is a survivor of the Holocaust. He was 15 when he entered Auschwitz with his family. "Night" is his memoir. It was a good show. Although it was emotionally intense, I was grateful to have watched and felt prety hopeful after. The next I came across was the episode where Oprah and Professor Wiesel visited Auschwitz. This did not leave me so upbeat, yet I am still grateful.

Jim asked me why it was important to remember.

"Night" was a high school assignment. "To Kill A Mocking Bird" had been huge in my life. It was the first time I became really aware of what discrimination was, that it even existed. The next book would go so much further. "Night" erased childish innocence about humanity. My eyes were opened to what people were capable of doing to one another, what disbelief could do to families and communities, and what apathy could do to millions of lives.

Inside I feel heavy. There are not words to describe what my soul longs to say. The world promised "never to forget." The mind only hears positive statements which I guess would explain why as a world we seem to only have heard "forget." Thus we allow similar acts to continue in places around the world, because it does not affect us personally. In my studies of personal growth I have learned in order to manifest something, put your attention on it. Do not place your attention on things you do not want. That leaves me with questions. How do you resolve things like this?

Jim asked me why it was important to remember. My answer to him was as follows. Many of those killed had been warned before the Nazis reached them. They heard and did nothing because they simply could not believe it could be true. One of the teen girls on Oprah's show who survied the genocide in Rwanda said they were warned, but did not believe. It is important to remember because we must accept all truth, including the truth of evil that can be wrought. One cannot fight an enemy one does not know. Additionally, if it happens on the macroscale then the possibility must exsist within each individual. "Man, know thyself." To ignore such atrocities in the world is to ignore a part within ourselves.

Initially, I felt I could never be part to anything like that. But lets be really honest. How often do I just sit by and do nothing about wrongs happening all around me because "it isn't any of my business?" The lady yelling at her child, the man being rude in line, a frustrated customer verbally abusing a manager? Or worse, admitting I could be the one hurting others if I felt justified. The other day I witnessed some cheeky kid calling my son names. Anger flared up inside of me, a desire to rush to my son's defense. How much more would this be if my son had been physically assulted? My daughter raped? What if I had been convinced a forgien army had invaded my country, my people, and were out to take my home, hurt my family, and destroy "the American way of life?" Somewhere in there I must admit the possibility of killing another human being becomes a reality. If that reality is there, then it follows it is possible, if left unchecked, it could be enflamed, warped and twisted for far greater evil.

Oprah's show ends with some profound words:
"To Those Who Lost Their Lives
We Remember
To Those Who Survived
We Hear You
To The Next Generation
We Must Never Forget"

Why do I remember? I remember to honor those involved. I remember because it is truth. I remember because it is a mirror for what is in me.

It is also a glimpse at what is inside you.

Why do you remember?

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