I was putting some order in my papers today when I found this interview with Elie Wiesel inside a notebook.
The interview ‘Ten questions for Elie Wiesel’ was published in Time magazine in February 6, 2006. I’m posting only three of those questions.
On the photo, my table, always too messy…
Humility, conscience, the use of power- these are themes you’ve discussed for years.
My mission has not changed. In the beginning, I thought, Maybe my witness will be received, and things will change. But they don’t. Otherwise we wouldn’t have had Rwanda and Darfur and Cambodja and Bosnia. Human nature cannot be changed in one generation.
Where do we start? What do we need to focus on?
Two subjects. We should fight hatred. There should be a Bibilcal commandment: Rhou shalt not hate. And then there’s indifference. Everyone can fall into this trap. It’s so easy to enter into indifference and stay there. An indifferent person remains indifferent unless shaken up. These are the most important subjects in the world.
You sound hopeful, but I know you love to read and teach Albert Camus. Why? Many people see him as a depressing writer.
To the contrary, I think he is hopeful. If you read The Plague, there is a doctor who does everything he can to save. In the midst of death, there is a human being who sacrifices his days and nights- and maybe risks his life- to save people he’d never met. Camus said “Where there is no hope, one must invent hope”. It is only pessimistic if you stop with teh first half of the sentence and just say, There is no hope. Like Camus, even when it seems hopeless, I invent reasons to hope.