Dear Boutros Boutros-Ghali,
My name is Nadia Khan. I am fifteen years old and I attend Cold Spring Harbor High School. In our tenth grade English class, we just finished reading a book called Night, by Elie Wiesel. We had many class discussions about the book and the Holocaust. I feel that we must do everything we can to make sure genocide, like the Holocaust, won't happen again. I am scared that something as bad as the Holocaust will happen again, the way things are going on in the world now. I feel that we must stop people from being so prejudiced and feeling so much hatred towards others.
Right now, a lot is going on in the world that frightens me. There is so much fighting and hatred in different countries. I feel very aware of all these problems because of the coverage in the news. There are so many problems going on in the world. For example, there has been much fighting going on in Bosnia. I was wondering, since the United Nations has stepped in and helped with peace negotiations, what further steps is the UN going to take to help peace be established? Do you personally feel that the UN should step into Chechnya and take action? I feel that the fighting and violence in Bosnia and Chechnya are prominent problems today, and I would like to know what some of your views on these issues are.
The United Nations also took action in Somalia and was able to greatly help problems there. I think that the UN did a good job, and I was wondering what the situation in Somalia is at the moment? I think that UNICEF is a really good idea because I like to know that something is being done to help young children in need. Has it been bringing in a lot of profits to help children who are poor? Is the United Nations doing anything in the area of children's rights? I would really appreciate some of your views on these important issues.
Hello, Mr. Wiesel! My name is Adam Rokhsar, and I am a tenth grade student from Long Island. Recently, as part of our English curriculum, my class read your book Night. Although I had read the book before the class, I figured that I might as well read it again. As it turned out, reading the book a second time was a very good idea. The reason is rather simple. I'd like to thank you. I'd like to thank you for opening my eyes to the real world. When I first read Night, it left a lasting effect on me. However, through faults of my own, I felt pressured to read it in a rather short amount of time (don't ask why -- I'm not really sure myself).
The second time I read it, something different happened. I'm not quite sure why, possibly because I'm older now, and maybe a tiny bit wiser, but for one reason or another, the book struck something inside me. It was a nagging feeling, one which I couldn't put my finger on. It eluded me for days after completing Night.
Then, one night, while lying in that period of time between sleep and consciousness, it dawned on me. This feeling, which had been lingering this entire time, finally showed its true self. This feeling was, in fact, that somehow, someway, I had not noticed the world. I know it seems hard to believe, almost ridiculous, but it's true. I got the feeling that I was going about life in a little universe of my own creation. There, I lived, went to school, and learned everything I'd do in the real world. Except that there was one thing missing: awareness, awareness that I did exist at the center of the world, like I thought I did for sometime in my universe. In fact, in the whole grand scheme of things, who I was really didn't matter.
Now, you might think that this is a bad feeling, but there's more. I realized that I didn't matter, not because I was just no one, but because I never tried to be anyone. I never once helped the homeless or gave to charity. Not that I was a cruel person. I did my best helping friends, trying to be nice, polite, and all that other stuff your parents teach you. But, I guess what I'm trying to say is that all that "stuff" is what vanished in your ordeal. All the intangibles, the random acts of kindness, that was what really happened. And I learned from your book that if we continue to act as if only our little world is what matters, then perhaps history will repeat itself. But if we learn from your experience and the experiences of others, then something like the Holocaust won't ever happen again because people will care enough to stop it. Thank you your lesson.
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