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IDEALISM VERSUS REALISM
July 7, 2016
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Elie Wiesel died this week. He dedicated his life to ensuring that the Holocaust, of which he was a survivor, and in which six million Jewish people were murdered by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime, was never forgotten.
This is an excerpt from his 1986 acceptance speech when he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe."
Interestingly, Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi won the Peace Prize five years later. The differences between them are astonishing. Wiesel was an "idealist." Suu Kyi, and also Barack Obama, another recipient, are "pragmatists," aka "realists." Idealists never forget human rights. Realists sacrifice them whenever they are not convenient, whenever it is the politically expedient thing to do. Needless to say, they are undeserving of the Prize.
This is a petition to take back Suu Kyi's Peace Prize: