What is the cost of speaking up?

Remembrance Day is coming.  I read Elie Wiesel’s Night.  And remembered a tragedy that is echoed throughout human history.

We remember the Jewish holocaust but what are we to do about Sudan?  North Korea?  Yemen? downtown Toronto?

A couple in our city has been recently attacked in their home by white supremacists.  The children were unharmed but now Social Services wants to remove them, saying that the parents’ anti-racism activism is putting the children in danger. 

Is that the cost of refusing to stay silent?  To put your life and the lives of others in danger?

As I read Night, I cried for those who survived.  I read many stories about WW2 as a child and often imagined myself a glorious martyr, giving my life in exchange for someone else’s.  The courage that I lacked in real life finally there.

And I read about sons abandoning their fathers.  Killing their fathers.  Over a scrap of bread.  Survival the strongest instinct.

Is survival so bad? 

Elie talks about telling himself the babies they killed were already dead.  To survive. 

And yet, was that what the guards who were doing the killing were telling themselves too?  That they were just trying to survive?

If we think about the madness of the world, how can we but go mad?

But if we ignore it, it continues.

Part of me wants a god that I can cry out to, to stop the brutality.  Part of me dreads that there may be a god who can watch it and do nothing.

One thought on “What is the cost of speaking up?

  1. Ahab says:

    Speaking up often has a price, but we must do something. Silence is the greatest gift people give to perpetrators.

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