The Blog Squad

Monday, May 07, 2007

Do Not Stand Idly By

Last night my husband and I were fortunate enough to hear Holocaust survivor/author/human-rights activist Elie Wiesel speak at the JCC Forum. It was a night that I won’t soon forget. I was overwhelmed by just being in the same room as him. All of the emotions I felt when reading Night came flooding back to me.

Wiesel didn’t speak specifically about his Holocaust experiences, but he did speak of tragedy — Iraq, Sudan, Rwanda, all tragedies spawned and fueled by indifference. Wiesel also reiterated something that many of us have probably forgotten. Since the Holocaust, our country made promises that such butchery would not happen again. But one only has to turn on the news or read a book like Dave Eggers’ What Is the What to realize that genocide continues to this day. Wiesel admitted it would be easy for him to get frustrated and give up, but he does not. “Do not stand idly by,” he said.

The 2007-08 JCC Forum schedule was also announced last night. Investigative reporter Bob Woodward, author Mitch Albom and American Idol’s Elliott Yamin are slated.

The 2007-08 Richmond Forum has also announced its schedule. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox and syndicated columnist David Brooks are on my wish list.

And speaking of Sudan, don’t miss A Call to Action: A Project of Richmond for Darfur on May 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. at The Camel (1621 W. Broad St.). The event will feature Coy Issacs, projects director of the nonprofit organization Wine to Water, who spent two years in Darfur helping with water and sanitation projects in the war-torn region. There’s a $3 suggested donation, but consider forgoing that morning’s latte and give even more. — Sarah K. McDonald


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