Analysis Of Elie Wiesel's The Perils Of Indifference
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On 12 April 1999, Elie Wiesel gave a provocative and thought provoking speech, The Perils of Indifference, at the Millennium Lecture series that were held at the White House in Washington D.C. The goal of Wiesel’s speech was to open the audience’s eyes to the harmful effects of indifference to a suffering population, as well as to contemplate how not to let those types of atrocities happen in the new millennium. Wiesel’s dramatic account as a holocaust survivor aides in the success of his speech about indifference. “He was finally free, but there was no joy in his heart” (Wiesel, 1999). By utilizing Aristotle’s three appeals, Ethos, Logos, and Pathos, Wiesel created a successful argument against the dangers of indifference.
Wiesel initially pulls the audience in by using the emotional appeal to demonstrate the pain caused by indifference. He describes his personal history as a holocaust survivor which allowed the audience to feel the same pain and anger he felt. Wiesel speaks of his Jewish culture and how it is better to serve an “unjust God than an indifferent one”. That any abandonment that they experienced from the global community was nothing compared to feeling that God had forgotten about you (Wiesel, 1999). It was generally believed by those who were captives of the Nazis that the global community was unaware of the concentration camps and gas chambers that were being used (Wiesel, 1999). They thought that these tools of evil were “closely guarded secrets” and that brought the prisoners some relief (Wiesel, 1999). It would be some time after the liberation of Nazi Germany that these former prisoners were made aware that, yes, indeed the world knew and there was no immediate reaction (Wiesel, 1999). Such knowledge reopened ...
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...State of Israel, Peace Accords in Ireland, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s involvement in Kosovo (Wiesel, 1999). In those cases, the world got involved and though there was still loss of life, positive outcomes have been seen. Those effected had an understanding that the global population were not bystanders witnessing genocides and other forms of violence.
The Millennium Lecture series was an incredible opportunity for speakers such as Elie Wiesel to bring forth reminders of the past century and lessons that needed to be learned for the next. Wiesel provided an impassioned speech drawing from his own history and that of the world. With the effective use of his credibility, logic, and emotional draw, Wiesel successfully argued against indifference and presented a hope for a better future.
Wiesel, Elie. "The Perils Of Indifference." 1999,.