News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Mute Before Terror

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Mute Before Terror

[The following was written in response to something at I Cite. It now sounds so trite and overblown, too preachy maybe. The issue is one I have dealt with in poems, so perhaps I'll dig those out and print some lines rather than this tripe.]

I have always been drawn to the verse where Jesus says, "And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." That injustice, or muteness before injustice, is epitomized here, no? One MUST speak out, perhaps not knowing what to say or what to do. The gap of the not-knowing is filled with fear and trembling, I think.

I've done some study of the Holocaust and even did a class on it at a Church. I used "Shoah" to prompt discussion and as background, along with several documents from the Nazi archives in the Wiesenthal library. The effect of the film and its power is that it relies on personal testimony of victims and perpetrators and abettors. This is wrapped around a framework within which the narrator moves closer and closer to Auschwitz and its physical edifice.

I do not think that it's the quantitative accumulation of testimonies or even their contrasts that make the event of the film effective in its depiction of the horror and terror of the Shoah. It is the balancing of objective and subjective to create a framework within which the event can be seen in all its unknowable terror. This at the same time that you begin to understand not only what brought the horror alive but also gain an emotional stimulus to confront that injustice so as to make it the bedrock for further action.

But again, what is the response to such monstrosity if not a prayerful reflection that leads to a vigilant awareness to remain open to the potential for this to arise in whatever form it might take in the future?

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