Elie Wiesel Reflects on Working Toward Peace
with the Nobel laureate conference in 1988, the Foundation
for Humanity that Marion and I created at the end of 1986
has been organizing international conferences on a single
theme: "The Anatomy of Hate."
"Hate," the key word, describes the passions,
often contradictory and always vile, that have torn and
ravaged the twentieth century. Only the twentieth century?
In truth, the word contains and illustrates the full recorded
memory of human cruelty and suffering. Cain hated his brother
and killed him; thus the first death in history was a murder.
Since then, hate and death have not ceased to rage.
Hate-racial, tribal, religious, ancestral, national, social,
ethical, political, economic, ideological-in itself represents
the inexorable defeat of mankind, its absolute defeat. If
there is an area in which mankind cannot claim the slightest
progress, this surely is it. It does not take much for human
beings, collectively or individually, to suddenly one day
pit themselves like wild beasts one against the other, their
worst instincts laid bare, in a state of deleterious exaltation.
One decision, one simple word, and a family or a community
will drown in blood or perish in flames.
Why is there so much violence, so much hate? How is it
conceived, transmitted, fertilized, nurtured? As we face
the disquieting, implacable rise of intolerance and fanaticism
on more than one continent, it is our duty to expose the
danger. By naming it. By confronting it.
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