News
Features
ART[icle]S
Creative
Visual
Home » ART[icle]S, Europe Issue

Europe Issue: Ignited Indignation – Stéphane Hessel’s Time for Outrage! Book Review

Submitted by on December 27, 2011 – 5:02 pmNo Comment

 

 

Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite.

Dynamite comes in small packages and Stéphane Hessel’s book Time for Outrage! is a testament to this, delivering an exceptionally powerful political punch in just 37 pages.

The metaphor of explosions are extremely fitting here as the author survived world war two as a resistance fighter in France amongst other things blowing up Nazi railways and trains. As well as that he is also Jewish and with the Nazi occupation of France in the 1940s these two points did obviously not put him in good stead with the occupiers. The Gestapo did eventually catch up with him and sent him to a concentration camp. Hessel esaped and fled to London where he was put in charge of all the resistance in France by General De Gaulle and his Free French government that was in exile.

Resist is what he did up to the end of world war two with the defeat of the Nazis in his homeland and Europe. To helping set up the Declaration of Human Rights for the United Nations in 1948. Built of sterner stuff, still, the 92 year old is even today resisting against a new tyranny; that of western politicians that seem hell bent on destroying civil liberties and human dignity as they stomp over individual rights and make it even harder for citizens to obtain even basic needs. This Hessel alludes to when he states that at the time at the end of world war two the resistance established basic social rights and services for all its citizen’s. Yet France was in a state of ruin that would probably make today’s recession seem like child’s play, and still everybody’s primary needs, at least, were met.

Hessel deals with complex issues so concisely and therefore makes the information accessible not just to those who live and breath political activism but for anyone who has half an hour to spare. Yet what I found most refreshing about the book is the fact that he doesn’t justify any injustice of any kind, for instance regarding the Soviets behaviour Hessel states: “ As for Stalin, we all cheered the Red Army’s victory over the Nazis in 1945. Yet, when we learned about the Stalinist mass trials of 1935, it became necessary and obvious to oppose this unbearable totalitarianism. It was necessary, even if communism was a counterbalance to American capitalism. My long life has given me a steady succession of reasons for outrage.”

Hessel also desperately tries to communicate with the readers, especially the next generation: “I want you, each and everyone of you, to have a reason to be outraged. This is precious. When something outrages you, as Nazism did me, that is when you become a militant, strong and engaged. You join the movement of history, and the great current of history continues to flow only thanks to each and every one of us.”

Finishing reading the powerful text it becomes apparent to the reader that Hessel is a realist and perhaps a left wing libertarian revolutionary who believes in the power of pure Democracy and that the fight against all injustices should be carried out, regardless of the banner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.