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Monday
Apr162012

Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices...

This text is excerpted from Elie Wiesel's Nobel Prize speech in December 1986, and which can be found on the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity website.  
"Do I have the right to represent the multitudes who have perished? Do I have the right to accept this great honor on their behalf? I do not. No one may speak for the dead, no one may interpret their mutilated dreams and visions. And yet, I sense their presence. I always do - and at this moment more than ever. The presence of my parents, that of my little sister. The presence of my teachers, my friends, my companions...
This honor belongs to all the survivors and their children and, through us to the Jewish people with whose destiny I have always identified.

I remember: it happened yesterday, or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the Kingdom of Night. I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.

I remember he asked his father: "Can this be true? This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?"

And now the boy is turning to me. "Tell me," he asks, "what have you done with my future, what have you done with your life?" And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices."
I have been looking for accounts of genocides to share with you all, accounts that will help us remember.  After hearing our NOLA 50K Preview installation speaker Claude Gatebuke's story, I've decided that we'll start with Philip Gourevitch's account of the Rwandan genocide from The New Yorker Magazine in 1995.
This beautiful image is of loved ones lost during the Rwandan genocide, and it's from a wordpress.com site called the Rwandan Genocide 
If you have essays, articles, photos, or accounts you think would be good to share, please let me know.

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