Friday, March 13, 2009

NIGHT-- A Very Powerful Book

There are a lot of books written today and of the past that are fundamentally important. Books written in the name of history. Documenting something important to tell a tale for others to ponder and reflect on. History is not only about dates and locations. It is a story of time gone by where humanity made a difference whether in a good or bad way.

“Night” written by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel was one book that I had been waiting for to read. I admit that I only knew about this book a year ago through Oprah. But this book has already been here for forty years already. I was on my bookstore a year ago trying to look for it and sadly they didn’t have a copy. I even wondered how come a massive bookstore like this wouldn’t have a single copy of one of the most talked about memoir. Yesterday I was back there trying to scan through new books I almost decided on getting a novel but I went to my favorite part of the store, the non-fiction books. And right there and then the book that I have been looking for a year was staring me in the eye.

Elie Wiesel
“A slim volume of terrifying power”
-New York Times

I was very happy to finally get hold of it but more than that it got me more intrigued for this thin memoir has erupted many discussions. Before Elie started the story of Night, he wrote a preface making sure that the reader understands the reason why the memoir is only 100 pages. A hundred pages filled with so much power, indeed so much power.

If you don’t know what this book is all about, it is Elie’s account on his personal experience in Auschwitz through the worst time of history, the Holocaust. The book though edited already is still RAW. Site this:

“Didn’t you know what was in store for you here in Auschwitz? You didn’t know? In1944? "
True. We didn’t know. Nobody told us. He (SS man) couldn’t believe his ears.
"Over there. Do you see the chimney over there? Do you see it? And the flames, do you see them? (Yes, we saw the flames.) Over there, that’s where they will take you. Over there will be your grave. You still don’t understand it? You sons of bitches. Don’t you understand anything? You will be burned! Burned to a cinder. Turned into ashes."

I have always been keen on stories behind the holocaust, but in truth I now realized that written words are not sufficient alone to give justice to what these people have gone through during those horrifying time. Films which try to give us a picture of what happened then will never be able to fathom the totality of the horror that happened. We will never be able to feel what they felt. Men reduced to animals, deprived of everything in this world yet still tried to exist. The pain and the lost they had to go through are unspeakable. Maybe the word LOST will never give justice to what they really felt. Only they know.

I invite anyone who reads this blog to at least in your own way remember the lives lost in the holocaust, read a book or watch a film. It is one way for us to know what history has written and to make sure that it will never happen again. For it is still happening today. History taught us how genocide takes away everything from a human being. And it is onto us to make sure that this will NEVER happen again.

I end this blog with this quote from the book.

Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed.
Never shall I forget that smoke.
Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under the silent sky.
Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of desire to live.
Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.
Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself.

-Elie Wiesel



Monday, March 9, 2009


Yesterday as I was reading news online I came across this photo.

A photo of vintage inspired Barbie dolls sold in China. I was taken by the photo because first I love vintage, and second because it has been a long time since I saw this type of doll. But yet again there is something more to it that draw me in, something more deep. As you can see in the photo the dolls look like a crowd. They look a like, not one stands out, maybe the one in the center which caught your eye. But that’s about it, nothing in these dolls are interesting enough for me or to anyone to linger. But this photo inspires me to write something. It is something all of us are inclined to do; it is STANDING OUT FROM THE CROWD.

I admit that I too want to stand out of the crowd. There is nothing wrong with that, don’t you think? We live in a world where mediocrity gets boring and so people try to be unique in their own little way. We love to make a statement(s) and yes we love to be noticed and stand out from the crowd. But is it really necessary? I wonder.

We say we love to stand out from the crowd but if you notice we still copy other people, mostly influenced by pop culture and use that for us to stand out. Take for example the “EMO” craze that the younger generation has adopted. There is nothing wrong with it, and I have nothing against it as well. But sometimes teens use this pop culture so they can stand out and be noticed in a crowd. But if there are a lot of people being influenced by the EMO mania going on today, then how can you stand out? Acquiring things just to be noticed is something I went through, but I know better now. I know a lot of us can relate to this but sometimes we buy things so that we can get noticed, maybe as simple as a savvy t-shirt to an expensive bag. We try to stand out through things we have and use not realizing that we are still mediocre in a way.

So is it still important for us to stand out in a mediocre crowd? Does it still matter? I am torn in a way because true enough I don’t want to be a mediocre person and yet I don’t want to make it a BIG DEAL. Here is what I have to say. There is nothing wrong of standing out if you are not harming anybody. But if we get so attached to the thought of standing out from the crowd to the point that it defines us and our whole being then it becomes a bit shallow. We have to dig deeper on how we define ourselves. We can still go on this world looking like a mediocre person but bringing so much impact to the world. By then mediocrity fades.

That is what I think.

Highly developed spirits often encounter resistance from mediocre minds.
Albert Einstein.