Get Angry!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Stéphane Hessel has recently published a booklet –an excellent idea for disseminating high-impact ideas- inviting us to refuse to resign ourselves to the present situation and, to get angry!

As you can see, the collection is dedicated to those who are “walking against the wind", a name applied to the Omaha tribe of Native Americans, related to the Sioux.

At 93, in his “final stage” and returning to his roots, Stéphane Hessel demands from us a public commitment to resistance, to defending human dignity at all times, to refusing to remain passive unmoved witnesses.

"Today, more than ever, we need the principles and values that guided us in the past, and together we must ensure that our society doesn’t abandon those values". And he mentions the treatment of immigrants, achievements in social security, and the immense danger of the communications media remaining in the hands of the wealthiest...

And he adds that it is essential "to usher in true social and economic democracy, in which individual interests are subordinate to the general good”... and which will ensure “that the press is free to carry out its tasks independently of its relation to government, economic powers or foreign influences"...

If there ever was a person with sufficient moral authority to offer this advice and to warrant such attention, it is Stéphane Hessel, the only surviving co-author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so lucid, and who given the urgency of his age and the present circumstances calls on us to participate in a “peaceful insurrection". Was perhaps he who in the second paragraph of the Universal Declaration wrote that human beings may find themselves “compelled to rebellion”?

"Indifference”, he notes, “is the worst of all possible attitudes". We must react.

Freed at the last minute from the Buchenwald and Dora concentration camps, Hessel offers us his supreme lesson in impartiality when he confesses that today he is “principally outraged by the situation in Palestine, Gaza, the West Bank... where the Israeli army’s acts are totally reprehensible: 1,400 deaths on the Palestinian side vs. 50 wounded Israelis... It’s inadmissible for the Jews to perpetrate war crimes", he concludes.

And he adds: "I am convinced that the future must bring non-violence and conciliation among different cultures ".

“To those who will build the 21st century I say with great affection: create and resist. Resisting is creating ".

When I finished reading this timely message, I was reminded of the wisdom of my mother who recommended that I rest only when necessary and sleep very little, in order to take advantage of the mystery of life, and when toward the end of the 1940s (I was 16) she advised me: "If you want to be happy, never accept what you consider unacceptable ".

Yes: Let’s get angry!

"Let’s not be so patient", said José Saramago.

Thank you, Stéphane Hessel: I hope you live to see the onset of the peaceful resistance you demand.

Although, wherever you may be, you will feel the breezes of our gratitude.