We watch the news.
We learn about history.We learn about many things.
But what is the purpose of all this learning?
For some, they exude superiority by the mere fact of knowing something more than others. It gives their ego a boost in gaining first hand knowledge or having to know more. Even if these sources of knowledge are mere hearsay and not facts. So you see, a man’s worth is not to be measured by the size of his pockets or the number of times he has been recognized with breakable glass or by the number of degrees he attains. For what does it matter, if he remains an ignorant fool.
For some, it is in the hopes of joining the crowd and ride the waves as dictated by society. The same society that finds everyone lacking unless one can fake it to make it. The very same society that compels us to reduce our lives to mere cliches. Tsk.
For the few, like Elie Wiesel, learning is not merely knowing, learning is putting to good use what it is you have learned. This with a view that in doing so, we do not draw an arrow pointing back to the self for wanting to be recognized in gaining such knowledge. That in knowing we humbly accept that we are still learning. Thus, we may not know everything. That in learning, we live with the right convictions not because we justify their righteousness but because they are borne of justice, equity and morality.
A year after the 70th anniversary of the liberation from Auschwitz and this happens. Be free Elie. It is time to go home. You gave voice to the voiceless. You gave words to the silent. You made memories matter. You made things matter. When everybody else may have chosen to be silent, to forget.
Thank you. Your struggle to believe, despite of, and in being able to admit that, makes you all the more real.
“For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”