Monday, February 11, 2008

A Long Way Gone

Forum on International Human Rights, CSULB. February 11-13.

Amid a churning sea of faces, I was but one in a frothy thousand to pass Ishmael Beah's table as he sat poised in his author's chair, glowing smile, looking all official. He was signing copies of his memoir, A Long Way Gone. I was to conduct a quick and informal interview with this former child soldier for Cb TV. His message cliche, although coming from him, honorable: The power to heal and be healed is within us all.

The day closed with the screening of a documentary, I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life & Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal (2007). He lived the atrocities of the Holucaust. He was a Jew. Despite all he'd seen and been subjected to, he chose to carry the pain of 6 million people and consequently, heal equivocal anguished hearts. He demanded justice for the victims and survivors of Hitler's genocide. His exuded passion, a love for his family and people, and maintained a miraculous sense of humor.