nina colors

Obama visits, Wiesel speaks, Nina cries

Posted on: June 6, 2009

I was not happy with Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo yesterday to the world’s muslims.  While I agree with him on the outreach, his strict demand that Israel stop settlements without a corresponding strict demand on Hamas and the Palestinians, disappointed me. 

So, I hope that his visit to Buchenwald really did make an impression on him.  I hope he will take his family to the U.S. Memorial Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC,  since they were not with him in Germany.  He cannot feel as we feel;  just as I cannot feel the weight of slavery and Jim Crow as he does.  Blacks and Jews used to walk together in this country during the civil rights era.  But black anti-semitism has grown and grown. I don’t know why.  Who understands what’s really behind anti-semitism.
Then, I listened to the 10 minute talk by Elie Weisel; the conscience of the world for the last 50 years. I have read his books and listened to him speak; and watched him grow older and less hopeful.  For in recent years, he speaks of Darfur and other atrocities that he had hoped the world would have done away with in his lifetime.
It breaks my heart to see this great man, a man of the highest integrity and with a rich creative voice, grow old without his deepest wishes coming true.  The boy who watched his father die in front of his eyes at Buchenwald is now the man watching civilization die – again and again – each time one of these atrocities occur.
So I cried for him and I cried with him.

4 Responses to "Obama visits, Wiesel speaks, Nina cries"

Dear Nina,

When I watched Elie Weisel speak yesterday, I cried with him. When I read your post, I cried for him.

I did not see Eli Wiesel speak, and think I may have to find that speech and read it. Such sadness in so many areas of our world with so much pain and suffering. On bended knee we could spend all our days.

“on bended knee”. How very true. How little actually it’s done. Thank you for reminding me to humble myself, Renee.

Respectfully, I think the President’s comments, if given full context, are balanced.

“Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered.

Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.

At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.

Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.”

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