In this month’s piece at New English Review, Dalrymple writes of attending a speech by writer and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel years ago in Buenos Aires:
…the audience, which was obviously a highly-educated one, grew restless under Weisel’s seemingly unprepared, but nevertheless well-worn, torrent of sickly platitudes, most of which struck an unpleasantly sentimental or folksy note that might have just been appropriate for a village meeting but here was of an almost insulting superficiality. Indeed, several people in the audience walked out in a protest, or at least in disgust…
After reading Wiesel’s book The Night, about his horrific experience at Buchenwald, Dalrymple began to see things differently:
As anyone who has had evil or even only discreditable thoughts will know, it is a continuing burden to have had them, all the more so in such circumstances. No wonder Wiesel writes nothing of his experience for several years afterwards. But it was hardly surprising that, once he had started to do so, he interpreted everything in the light of it. Which of us would not do the same?