“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. ”
One of my hero is Elie Wiesel, the author of Night and a survivor of the Holocaust. What I love and admire about him the most is that he is a human rights activist. Fighting and speaking for the defenseless has always been my passion in life. I went into teaching not only because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people but demonstrate to them how they can affect the world and make it a better place for everybody. To my students I have always emphatically stress the importance of not remaining silent in the face of tragedy. I always tell them they can’t stand by in the face of injustice when they can do something about it which is speak up and express their opinions in the least. When I was looking at the videos of the Hmong being hunted like animals, tortured, and systemically killed, I can not help but be reminded of the quote by Elie and the lessons I try to teach my students. During the Vietnam war, the Hmong helped the U.S. in the conflict against the Viet Cong, as well as Laos, but after the war they were forgotten and abandoned by all. Now they are displaced and hunted by the Lao government because they are seen as rebels. The leader of the Hmong have appealed to the United States and Kofi Anan of the United Nations to intervene on behalf of the Hmong people to no avail. It is pointless to accuse the Lao government because unless we are there as witnesses to these crimes, we can not point our fingers. What we do know for a fact is that the Hmongs desperately need help. International observers must be sent in to the jungle of Laos by the U.N. to see what really is going on. We can not let such tragedy continue, we must stop all holocaust whether it’s in Darfur or Laos or anywhere in the world. Like Elie said we must take sides no matter what. In the face of human suffering I must stand by the victim’s side and express my outrage, pain, and disappointment in humanity.