As human beings, the night for us evokes fear. The dark is scary and unknown; something could be lurking around in it, ready to attack whenever it feels like it. Walking down a dark street at night, every wave of wind brushing past against the skin, every raspy scratch heard by the ears, sends the mind into a frantic stage, wanting to run and hide. The darkness of the night isn’t humanity’s greatest friend. However, somehow, in the night, there are things called stars; in the night, there are now electrical lights invented by humans; in the night, there is a moment when the sun rises up, and then and there, a magic happens: a light bright enough to light up the whole sky and earth, driving away the night.
Reading the book Night, written by Elie Wiesel, this vague description of ‘night’ appeared in my mind. The book is sad. Sad enough to make me cry so many times. However, the thing is, sometimes, I didn’t cry because of it was depressingly sad, I cried also because there were moments when which pulled at my gut and made me rebel with the narrator. An example of that moment would be when the hidden Jewish girl had said to the narrator,
“Bite your lips, little brother…Don’t cry. Keep your anger, your hate, for another day, for later. The day will come but not now…Wait. Clench your teeth and wait…”
It was a star in the darkness of the life of the narrator. It was a bright light which gave him strength, us strength. It was a sad ray of hope which acted as a star in the darkness of the story.
The Jewish in the concentration camps also set up spiritual/religious groups inside the camps as a form of resistance. As shown in the book and http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005213, this religious practice gave the Jewish strength to endure the hardships. This light they had made for themselves resembled the street lights humans invented to ward off the night.
The last kind of light, the light of the sun is in the end of the book. This scene in the book made me kind of stop in my tracks and say, “whaaaa…” It happened when the narrator explained how the Jewish reacted to the freedom from the Concentration Camps.
“The next day, a few of the young men ran into Weimar to bring back some potatoes and clothes-and to sleep with girls.”
Well, I was stunned. At first, I was kind of freaked out that the people weren’t crying and mad, but doing that instead because the author had stressed on “no [one] thought of revenge, or of parents”. But after a while, I realized that what they were doing was all right. The people had gone through rough times and the freedom was as magical as the rising sun at the moment of sunrise. And, enjoying it was the best thing to do at the moment.
These lights, I hope, was Elie Wiesel’s plea against letting light disappear in the eyes of people living under fear, people living in the night.