"We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
Yesterday we lost a very beautiful and inspirational soul, Mr. Elie Wiesel. For those who are unfamiliar with him, Mr. Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate. He also penned the famous and eloquently written Night trilogy.
I read Night when I was a ninth grader in high school, and I distinctly remember being extraordinarily impacted by the words coming off of the page. The way that Elie Wiesel described his traumatic experiences and emotions left me wondering how it is possible that a tragedy like the Holocaust ever came to pass. Investigating further into Mr. Wiesel's life gave me an answer to my question: by people standing by and doing nothing.
This is the most important lesson that I learned from Mr. Wiesel. When people chose to be silent and remain neutral, they are essentially helping the persecutor and not those being persecuted. We help evil win when we explicitly chose to not use our voices out of fear, selfishness, or both.
History tends to repeat itself when we don't revisit these crucial lessons like the ones taught by Elie Wiesel. Currently, my country is facing a crisis in that we could be electing a president who spews racist comments and believes in dividing us dependent on our culture. If I have learned anything from Mr. Wiesel, it is that I cannot stand for that, and I will do everything in my power to prevent this from happening. We all have voices, and we cannot be afraid to use them, especially when times become difficult.
I wish that I had had the opportunity to hear Mr. Wiesel speak, but it is unfortunately too late now. Regardless, we can all manage to preserve his story and memory by always remembering to take a stand and be brave, even in the hardest times.
Rest in peace, Mr. Wiesel.