Often it’s a great accomplishment to remain unchanged when surrounded by constant disagreement. Conflict and having your life threatened is frequently a catalyst for anger and reprisal. Elie Wiesel, author of the memoir ‘Night,’ is a man whose mental and physical strength was tested far beyond the brink of most individuals. He was involved in the Holocaust and retells his horrifying story of death and despair. Survival was the number one priority for people during this cruel time. Elie was travelling with his father whom was severely undernourished, exhausted and was essentially a walking skeleton. There was no doubt his father declining health and dwindling existence was impeding upon his survival. Many people were so eager to live they would leave familial bonds behind in order to ensure their own survival. However, Elie did not abandon his father’s side and gave generously the little food he received. Elie remained faithful to his father to the detriment of himself which signifies immense power and is a highly significant feat. This is a direct portrayal of greatness simply being an unchanged individual. Similarly, Najaf Mazari, author of ‘The Rug Maker; endured substantial inner conflict when deciding whether to fleeing Afghanistan to become a refugee was a safe proposal. Najaf didn’t want to abandon his home land; however, he took a huge leap of faith and now resides in Melbourne. Throughout Najafs life his existence has been continuously threatened and his heart burdened by years of grief and sadness. Despite years of taunting abuse and fear he now owns an Afghan Rug shop with his family in Melbourne. His positive and persistent attitude allowed him to overcome setbacks and seek happiness in his life. This in itself is a colossal accomplishment and should be recognized as pure greatness.
Conflict can rock people’s stability and previously held values to their core. Recently an American Drone solider shot dead 16 innocent and vulnerable Afghan civilians. This random display of indiscriminant killing is get-wrenching and a heightened example of a man committing a ‘great’ and immeasurable crime. This soldier has been extensively exposed to death, violence and grief and chose to actively seek vengeance for the demise of his fellow soldiers in the hope revenge would satisfy. Unorthodox behavior such as this is the antithesis of Najaf and Wiesel’s reactions to war. They too were both exposed to disturbing sights, despondency and hopelessness however adopted a peaceful mindset. This ability to remain tranquil and calm represents a dramatic and inspiring achievement in itself. The soldiers, whether the US or the Taliban appear to be showing no clemency toward the innocent. The Taliban a cadre motivated by a single ideology which is to maintain power. Through the use of artillery, thousands of Afghan civilians have been brutally murdered including Najafs brother Gorg Ali who was shot to death by a sniper. Conflict has created more conflict and constant death has indoctrinated young minds so that random and blameless killing has become acceptable and conventional. This is not a ‘great’ triumph but a shocking one.
The idea of vengeance and retaliation is one most sufferers feel as though they have a right to. Millions of people worldwide have been deprived, disempowered and hurt. Incessant killing and terrorism