The Perils Of Indifference By Elie Wiesel

998 Words4 Pages
“The Perils of Indifference” is a speech that Elie Wiesel delivered in Washington D.C. on April 12, 1999, exactly 54 years after his release from the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald by American troops. Both Congress along with President Clinton and Mrs. Clinton were present to hear the speech. Wiesel spoke briefly about what it was like in the concentration camps, but he focused mostly on the topic of Indifference. His speech was effective in its use of rhetoric to convince the audience that as individuals and as a world culture we cannot afford to become indifferent to the suffering around us. Wiesel begins his speech by retelling of his liberation from Buchenwald. This is the most important use of the appeal to credibility. Wiesel is able to speak about suffering and people’s indifference towards it because he experienced it first-hand. While in the concentration camp at Buchenwald, he witnessed the pain of those around him. Wiesel says in his speech that for the prisoners their "only miserable consolation was that [they] believed that Auschwitz and Treblinka were closely guarded secrets." Those in the concentration camps believed that the rest of the world was unaware of the suffering that they were experiencing. However later, they found out that the world in fact was aware of everything that was happening, yet it was not reacting against it in as strong of a way as they wanted. What the prisoners believed to be a lack of knowledge was actually a case of partial indifference. When Wiesel learned of this, he was bitterly awakened to the fact that while the world had been partially acting to stop it, there was still much that was not done. In his speech he states that "[y]et for the person who is indifferent, his or her nei... ... middle of paper ... ...eal to facts by first defining the word “indifference,” and then stating the facts of several events that took place showing the lack of immediate concern that was shown by the United States towards the prisoners when the United States discovered what the Nazis were doing. Wiesel also uses the appeal to emotion while he laces his entire speech with many different emotionally charged words. He tries to elicit a strong emotional response from the audience so as to move them towards action against indifference. His goal can still be achieved today if each person who reads his speech was to actively see the suffering that others experience and work ease it to the best of their ability. This would result in a more unified community, nation, and world culture where those suffering would no longer feel alone and unimportant but instead they would be acknowledged and valued.
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