Richard D. Heffner welcomes writer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel. Wiesel is instinctively against mercy killing but acknowledges that individuals have a right to die. He references King Saul's suicide and a Talmudic morality story about desert survival.
Wiesel explains why he is against fictional works set in concentration camps. He discusses how his relationship to his father kept him alive, even as his father passed away. He talks about committing a Talmudic injunction.
Wiesel explains why it is impossible to convey what he went through to non-survivors, and why he is still compelled to try. Nazi brutality reached beyond the limits of language.
Wiesel reads a "Night" passage about his father begging him for water at the end of his life. A concentration camp block leader advises him not to share his food. Finally, the SS take away his father while Wiesel sleeps.
Wiesel believes every case of human suffering is unique. He criticizes exaggerated and aggressive political discourse and calls for civilized debates. Advances in communication technology have not increased humanity, compassion, or morality. He suggests that prolonging life humiliates the elderly.
Credits: Episode 4: Taking Life - An Act of Mercy?
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This program confronts the complex issue of mercy killing and examines the different circumstances that permit or prohibit the taking of life.
Length: 27 minutes
Copyright date: ©1997
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