Saturday, June 5, 2010

Speech: The Perils of Indifference by Elie Wiesel

1. The goal of this speech that Wiesel gave at the White House was to inspire the American people to act in times of human suffering, injustice, and violence, in order to prevent future events like the Holocaust. He says, " ...together we walk towards the new millennium, carried by profound fear and extraordinary hope."

2. His argument is that indifference is worse than anger. He argues that while indifference may seem easier than disrupting our own peaceful lives, it ultimately reduces the Other to an abstraction, and allows the bad things of the world to occur. He says that indifference is always the friend of the enemy,because it benefits the aggressor -- never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten. Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment. 

3. The audience is the President Clinton, Mrs. Clinton, members of Congress, Ambassador Holbrooke, "Excellencies," and friends at the White House. At the same time, he is addressing the American people.

4. This speech uses mainly pathos. He appeals to human emotion by talking about the suffering and injustices. He uses guilt to make people aware of their indifference in the past. He says that so many knew about the Holocaust and didn't do anything - "And now we knew, we learned, we discovered that the Pentagon knew, the State Department knew." He also uses ethos. He holds a huge amount of credibility being both a survivor of the Holocaust, as well as a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

5. I find this speech very inspiriting and thought-provoking. I would say it was effective. I know it made an impact at the White House.

I think the evidence was very relevant, since he used examples illustrating indifference in the world. 
The evidence was also typical. He used many American illustrations, and he is talking to an American audience. They will have already been aware of these things. 

Word Count: 324


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