hdchris (hdchris) wrote in rsqubf,

The perils of indifference

Today I read a great speech by Elli Wiesel on the perils of indifference. Before I get misunderstood again, I don't want to compare UBF with the Nazis. But one point that struck me was the indifference of the UBF members towards the reports of abuse in their own group, even when they did not only hear about it from others, but witnessed it themselves.

I remember how after the first reports about Samuel Lee's wrongdoings a UBF member asked me why I looked so worried. He suggested to accompany me home, and while we were walking, I told him all the awful things I had read from beatings, misappropriation of money up to forced abortions. I had to make a long way round because it was such a long story. At the end, when we arrived, all he had to say was: "Chris, why are you so angry?" I was flabbergasted. But even many dropouts who have turned away from UBF because of abuse they experienced themselves, even many of those, simply want to forget and don't talk about their experience. And there are also these cult apologists who don't care to investigate when people repeatedly report about severe abuse. I also remember the response of a UBF Korean when he was confronted by Amy. He covered his ears and shouted "I do not care!" This indifference is what is still cannot understand. Ellie Wiesel is right when he says that such people who do not care have lost their humanity:

"In a way, to be indifferent to that suffering is what makes the human being inhuman. Indifference, after all, is more dangerous than anger and hatred. Anger can at times be creative. One writes a great poem, a great symphony, one does something special for the sake of humanity because one is angry at the injustice that one witnesses. But indifference is never creative. Even hatred at times may elicit a response. You fight it. You denounce it. You disarm it. Indifference elicits no response. Indifference is not a response.

Indifference is not a beginning, it is an end. And, therefore, indifference is always the friend of the enemy, for it benefits the aggressor -- never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten. The political prisoner in his cell, the hungry children, the homeless refugees -- not to respond to their plight, not to relieve their solitude by offering them a spark of hope is to exile them from human memory. And in denying their humanity we betray our own.

Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment. And this is one of the most important lessons of this outgoing century's wide-ranging experiments in good and evil."
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