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July/August 2007

MESSAGE FROM ANN WEISS

July/August 2007

It is the day before I am leaving for Sarajevo to participate in the world gathering of Genocide scholars, meeting for the first time in a place where massacre has taken place. Although I am filled with much apprehension – both because of the topic and the intensity of the conference – its importance makes me grateful to be participating. I know the experience, though difficult, will be transformative. For new understandings I will glean, and new people I will meet, I am deeply appreciative.

Though the conference topic is genocide and the worst that people can do to other people, I will be speaking about the flip side: how one can remain human in the face of inhumanity. Having examined the lives of two exceptional Jewish Holocaust survivors, at the conference, I will share narratives of their courage, agency, goodness and compassion – despite the barbarity of circumstances surrounding them. For those of you who are interested in a detailed summary of the conference, click here.

For all of you, I hope this summer is a time of growth – or respite – whatever you need most, and that you regenerate those parts of you that most need regeneration. It’s a strange thing to say, but I think that a kind of regeneration will take place in me this summer in Bosnia-Herzegovina – as ironic as that may seem. Sometimes, just by getting out of one’s environment, life can be seen more clearly. In this case, by immersing myself in both the topic of, as well as the place of, genocide, I suspect that I will not only learn about death, but as has been the case with The Last Album, from such a place of death can come an even deeper appreciation for life.

I wish for you whatever kind of summer you wish – and need.

See you in September,

Ann Weiss

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