Imagine getting by with the bare minimum in order to survive, being on the run and hiding out of sightout of fear of being caught, tortured or killed.
“He reminded himself that this was no time for hope. Certainly, he could almost touch it. He could feel it, somewhere just out of reach.” – The Book Thief
That was the life of Max Vandenburg back in Nazi Germany in ‘The Book Thief’. Although he is a fictional character in a book, many Maxs existed back then, and continue to exist to this very day:
These are just some examples and the list is sadly way longer than this.
People’s ability to dehumanize “the other” is astounding. Joseph Pieper states: “Man’s ability to see is in decline.” Visual noise, consumerism, the entertainment industry and daily struggles that burden individuals in society have become distractions making it difficult to perceive reality for what it truly is.
“It’s pathetic how a man can stand by and do nothing as a whole nation cleans out the garbage and makes itself great.” – Hans Junior, The Book Thief.
While people are distracted, propaganda is easily employed by governments to achieve their purposes usually by brainwashing people into thinking of “the other” as animals or as “lesser” beings.
Then, there are people like Liesel Meminger’s foster parents who chose to live within the truth,who broke through the façade of the system, who sheltered a Jew knowing the consequences of getting caught; They understood that Max had an intrinsic dignity and a right to life just like any other living being. They found a way around the system to help him in any way they could.
In this age, with the advancement of technology, distractions have increased significantly. It is crucial that we take the time to disconnect, to analyze and critically think of the events taking place around the globe. We must not fall into the trap of generalizations, of thinking of others as “lesser” than us and we certainly must not lose sight of what is important in life.
– By our certified member at World Youth Alliance – Middle East, Olfat Sakr