Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel, gave his impassioned speech, “The Perils of Indifference”, in the East Room of the White House on April 12, 1999, as part of the Millennium Lecture series. Which was hosted by President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton.
First Elie shows his appreciation to the American people in the beginning of his speech by defining gratitude and thanking Mr. and Mrs. Clinton for helping the homeless, children and victims of injustice. He even thanks his audience for simply being there. Wiesel uses the method of asking questions to get his point across. He asks numerous questions on the purpose of indifference in the world. Such as, “What are its courses and inescapable consequences? Is it a philosophy? Is there a philosophy of indifference conceivable? Can one possibly view indifference as a virtue? Is it necessary?”
Wiesel’s speech, persuasive in nature, was designed to educate his audience as to the violence and killing of innocent people across the globe. His goal is not only to inform the people of the horrible events of the Holocaust, but also a call to action. Wiesel tries throughout the speech to inspire his audience within the White House, as well as the people of the world to act in times of human suffering, injustice, and violence. Within this call to action, Wiesel argues that indifference is an action worse than any other. Even anger, according to Wiesel, is a more positive action than indifference. “Even hatred at times may elicit a response. You fight it. You denounce it. You disarm it. Indifference elicits no response. Indifference is not a response.” When Wiesel states this, it forces any listener to consider how negative of an emotion hatred is, then puts indifference well below it.
Wiesel also addresses how easy it is for any person to be indifferent. He states, “Of course, indifference can be tempting more than that, seductive. It is so much easier to look away from victims.” This quote
In conclusion, Elie Wiesel’s speech, “The Perils of Indifference” was solidly written. He established his ethos completely by incorporating all the aspects of it. He maintained a good speaker audience relationship by gently and skillfully placing blame on an America’s faults in handling the Holocaust situation during World War II. He used the information not as condemning facts, but instead as a teaching tool. Wiesel also incorporated himself in his call to action for Americans. He
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