Wednesday, January 24, 2007

L'Chayim - "To Life"

This afternoon and evening I've started to read Primo Levi's "Survival in Auschwitz", another book for my History of the Holocaust class.

As I mentioned in an earlier post about Elie Wiesel's "Night", the books in this course are really making me think a lot and I will certainly have lots to post about these and my reactions to them. I think it's important for me to share these feelings with you - thanks to Google Analytics I know I've got roughly 120 readers of this blog per week, from usually about 5-10 different countries. The majority are family and friends in U.S.A., Canada and Australia, but I've seen plenty from other countries too. I feel that - in the words of my History Professor - that it's my duty to bring attention to this important subject.

Anyway just a couple things that are swirling in my head after the first 70 pages of this book...

I have been reading all afternoon and focusing hard on my work today because tonight I am going to have fun, tonight is the best bar night of the week. Lots of friends from VOC (Frosh Leading), class, and other things I have been a part of on campus come to the Bomber, it's fun, it's exciting, it's loud - but most of all it's relaxing and a nice break from my work. Obviously this club has plenty of drinking, I don't tend to drink much or at all, mostly due to the fact that I have more fun if I don't, and for me it's not a necessity for a good night, as some people tend to view it. Either way, it's great and I love it there. Lots of friends, lots of good music to dance to, lots of good hip hop and so on. Happy times.

But reading this book this afternoon puts me in an interesting mood before going out tonight. I should be VERY thankful for this opportunity. Sure I have a lighter workload this term and thus I have more free time for "fun stuff" and hanging out with my friends. But what I mean to say is, can you imagine how much Primo Levi (author of this book) would have liked to go out in the evening, blow off studying for a night and just enjoy himself? This book hits me extra hard because the author was exactly 24 years old when he wrote the book - the same age as I am right now. Can you even imagine yourself in that situation? It's almost impossible to comprehend the fear and hatred you would have towards the people who have imprisoned you. But alas, he writes the book in a calm, pensive and a matter-of-fact kind of way. His strength through his words is clear and stunning.

So when I am out tonight, enjoying the company of my friends... I'll be sure to enjoy it just a little bit more. A "Cheers" with friends, a "L'Chayim", meaning "To Life!" How lucky I am to be living in an age where I am not persecuted for who I am, and that I have the benefit of taking the evening off from my homework, visiting with friends, and just enjoying life. This is a blessing and a right that I would not have, were I born 40 or 50 years earlier and in Europe. I think we should all be grateful for this fact, and wary that others in the world now may not have the rights that we so clearly deserve.

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