Through out both of the books Maus and Night Jews expressed disbelief in what was happening to their people. They never thought the Nazi’s would make it to their city or village and concentration camps were not fully understood. In Night Moishe the Beadle came back to warn the Jews of what happened to the in the forest and was ignored. Nobody wanted to hear it and nobody wanted to believe.
In Maus Valdek says referring to stories heard of Auschwitz said,
“Even from there – from that other world – people came back and told. But we didn’t believe.” (Spiegelman 88).
People look at the world around them and think, “That will never happen to me, not here.” We all seem to live in over complicated clouds of disbelief. It’s another world and someone else will stop it.
“I could not believe that human beings were being burned in our times; the world would never tolerate such crimes.” (Wiesel 33).
These made me think about other conflicts in the world, which are despite some involvement, have been tolerated. Large scale human rights violation in Africa and China are the first that come to mind. And other conflicts with in Russia and the Middle East. These issues are very familiar; there are always headlines and news reports. Movies, documentaries, books have all been done about Darfur and Tibet. Even though we read it and see it, it never actually feels real at least to me. It is easier to dismiss it as being partly truth and partly fiction, like the Jews did when news would filter in about what was actually happening. They knew there were ‘work’ camps, but they wouldn’t be that bad.
So it begs the question, why? I can find two million hits on Google for Videos concerning Tibet, but I read on article in Time yesterday morning that says the Dalai Lama recently announced, he’s “given up” (Elegant 40). Why has there not been more help for the Tibetans, so the Dalai Lama would hot have to give up? Why is there a blatant ethnic cleansing being allowed in Darfur? Why were so many Jewish people allowed to be ruthlessly exterminated? Are these not things that could have been stopped? Could the world not put politics aside for a moment to help? Or are we so ruled by politics, that we make ourselves believe there is nothing we can do or it makes it feel unreal. We just can not grasp the full extent of all these situations. There was a quote in Night that really struck me and maybe helps do some explaining,
“The ghetto was ruled by neither German nor Jew; it was ruled by delusion” (Wiesel 12).
The Pain of Tibet by Simon Elegan
Maus by Art Spiegelman
Night by Elie Wiesel