As this concluding volume of his moving and revealing memoirs begins, Elie Wiesel is forty years old, a writer of international repute. Determined to speak out more actively for both Holocaust survivors and the disenfranchised everywhere, he sets himself a challenge: "I will become militant. I will teach, share, bear witness. I will reveal and try to mitigate the victims' solitude." He makes words his weapon, and in these pages we relive with him his unstinting battles. We see him meet with world leaders and travel to regions ruled by war, dictatorship, racism, and exclusion in order to engage the most pressing issues of the day. We see him in the Soviet Union defending persecuted Jews and dissidents; in South Africa battling apartheid and supporting Mandela's ascension; in Cambodia and in Bosnia, calling on the world to face the atrocities; in refugee camps in Albania and Macedonia as an emissary for President Clinton. He chastises Ronald Reagan for his visit to the German military cemetery at Bitburg. He supports Lech Walesa but challenges some of his views. He confronts Francois Mitterrand over the misrepresentation of his activities in Vichy France. He does battle with Holocaust deniers. He joins tens of thousands of young Austrians demonstrating against renascent fascism in their country. He receives the Nobel Peace Prize. Through it all, Wiesel remains deeply involved with his beloved Israel, its leaders and its people, and laments its internal conflicts. He recounts the behind-the-scenes events that led to the establishment of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. He shares the feelings evoked by his return to Auschwitz, by his recollections of Yitzhak Rabin, and by his memories of his own vanished family. This is the magnificent finale of a historic memoir.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of Family & Relationships eBook: And the Sea Is Never Full|
|Release Date: 09-01-2010|
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And the Sea Is Never Full
Chapter OneThe days move slowly, the years take flight. I work on two or three projects at once. Writing becomes an obstacle course. Have I become more self-critical? I used to rewrite some texts three times; now I sometimes agonize over the same page for hours before tearing it up in a moment of clear-sighted rage.
These are feverish, convulsive years, woven from aborted at-tempts and exalted renewals. My life now unfolds under the dual sign of change on a practical level and loyalty on the level of memory. Inside me happiness and distress seem to spark a fire that is both somber and luminous. Could it be that I fear happiness?
Notwithstanding my doubts about language, and perhaps be-cause of them, I plunge deeper and deeper into the whirlwind of the words I try to capture and tame. I cling to the notion that in the beginning there was the word; and that the word is the story of man; and that man is the story of God. If praying is an act of faith in God, then writing is a token of trust in man.
I write more than ever. I pause at every page: That which I have just written, have I not said it elsewhere? And I go on writing because I cannot do otherwise.
I have a wife I love, and yet I write not about love but about solitude. I have a home filled with warmth, and yet I write about the misery of the condemned. Around us, our circle of friends becomes larger. I no longer boycott social events with the old determination. With novelists we discuss politics, with politicians we speak of art. Miraculously, I don't suffer from writer's block, the familiar complaint of those around us. Nor is a lack of topics one of my problems....