Your sword can be a sermon or the power of a pen. Tell every child to raise his voice and then my brothers then, will justice be demanded by 10 million righteous men? Make them hear you.
I think about this line in the song “Make Them Hear You” from Ragtime almost every time I go on Twitter. There are people all over suffering in near silence either because they can’t speak up or no one is listening. I’m not sure which is worse. This line popped into my head on Saturday when I saw the Elie Wiesel, memory keeper, Nobel Peace Prize winner, author, and Holocaust survivor has passed away. I had read his first book ‘Night’ when I was in high school and was struck by his story. He lost everything and experienced horrors that you can’t overcome. But he shared his story. He told the world exactly what he experienced and shed light on the less than sunny side of life.
Elie Wiesel will never be forgotten. The power of his pen almost assures this. That is the thing about the pen- the words etched on the page are hard to erase. People will read his words long after he is gone. Wiesel reminds us that words have power. Speaking up isn’t easy, but when we notice injustice we need to speak up.
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.
The pen can shed light on things that we want people to see and things we need people to see. We write about happy moments, we write about things that hurt, we write through joy, we write through pain. I write to remember and remind myself to be in the moment. I write about things I experience, my fears, tidbits I want to remember, and lessons I learn along the way.
The pen shouldn’t be underestimated. Words have a special power. Some of life’s most important lessons can be learned by reading what other people write.
Elie Wiesel asked us to care and speak up. He wrote about a painful subject as a way to try to prevent history from repeating itself. In “Make Them Hear You,” we are asked to write our way to justice. The pen can change events large and small. From daily actions to joyful instances of people overcoming differences and horrific injustices, the pen is always there. Everyone can experience the power of the pen if they are willing to pick one up and write.
What does the power of the pen mean to you?
Why do you write?