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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stéphane Hessel

Yesterday evening the American Library in Paris hosted a most inspiring speaker - Stéphane Hessel.

Diplomat and author Stéphane Hessel, who is also a concentration camp survivor and former French resistance fighter, wants people to get mad and fight against what's wrong in the world, as he writes in his booklet, Indignez-vous! The booklet’s call to stand up to indecency resounded internationally; it has sold over 4 million copies in 100 countries. It has been translated into thirty languages since its 2010 publication. It is also credited with influencing movements like Occupy Wall Street and Los Indignados in Spain.

At 94 years of age, Hessel is stunningly articulate. Born in Berlin, he came to France at the age of seven. He writes in French, but he spoke to yesterday's audience in English. He addressed the four major points outlined in his slim volume, translated into English as Time for Outrage! These points included:
1. The economic gap between rich and poor which has widened in the last 50 years.
2. Deforestation and environmental destruction of the fragile resources of our planet
3. Terrorism
4. The Israeli/Palestinian situation. Despite his Jewish origins and his experience as a holocaust survivor; Hessel is an outspoken critic of Israel's stance on the creation of a Palestinian state.

Here is a short excerpt of his speech yesterday evening. I would wish to be so articulate at 94 years of age.
video

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