Elie Wiesel is speaking at Florida State tonight. I hope to be in attendance (tickets are first come, first serve for students). In anticipation, I have been reading back through Night. In reading back through it I thought I would post a particularly poignant scene or two and encourage you to re-read it if you have read it before or to read it for the first time if you haven’t. I wanted to find a hopeful passage, though, and those of you who have read Night know the book isn’t exactly filled with “hope.” The edition of Night that I own, though, contains his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech from 1986. As I read through that speech again I knew exactly which passage I wanted to share today. One that reminds us of the very real horrors of this world, but one that strikes a hopeful tone and issues an unequivocal call to action.
There is so much to be done, there is so much that can be done. One person – a Raoul Wallenberg, an Albert Schweitzer, a Martin Luther King Jr. – one person of integrity can make a difference, a difference of life and death. As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our life will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs.
. . .
Our lives no longer belong to us; they belong to all those who need us desperately.
You may only be one person, but then again, you are still one person.