Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Last Of His Generation

It's been a week since Elie Wiesel's death. Avi Benolo writes that he was the last of his generation:

His generation was the generation of the 20th century that struggled to put a broken world back together. His generation was the generation of Martin Luther King Jr. A generation that fought for social justice and humanity. It was a generation that spoke about not being silent. In King’s words, “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Similarly, Wiesel would argue “we must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

With Elie Wiesel’s passing, the great generation that empowered us and guided us to speak out against repression, violence and hatred - is gone. Gone are the icons who refused to shake hands with the devil, choosing instead to impart their righteousness through their actions and wisdom. Mahatma Gandhi, one of the first leaders widely revered for his non-violent methods, gave the world a new path toward freedom. He put the responsibility for social change on each and every one of us, instructing, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” And so, each of us becomes the centre – the bridge and the pinnacle – for expressing goodness.

Besides King and Gandhi, that generation included Helen Keller, Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela. Like Weisel, they believed that the greatest sin was indifference and it spread with silence in the face of evil.

Benolo asks, "Who will take their place?" So far, there don't appear to be a lot of successors.



Troy Thomas said...

Benelo needs to get out more, then. Just off the top of my head, I can think of... Pam Palmater, Perry Bellegarde, Chris Hedges, Matt Tabbi, Glen Ford... Michael Moore.

Are these people not good enough for Benelo? What a snob, then. It almost makes me think Benelo actually isn't listening to what people are saying. It's all well and good to idolize the past, but there are people speaking out today. There are people out doing good, today.

Owen Gray said...

You make a good point, Troy. Certainly, Chris Hedges is someone who fearlessly speaks truth to power.