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Eyal Press gave his speech in California, which entailed some of his character in his book Beautiful Souls. He starts over with a story that happened in 1942, in Eastern Poland, in the village of Jozefow. A convoy of trucks carrying men of Reserve Battalion 101 a Division of German Order Police attacked this village. They rouse the 1800 Jews in the village and took them to the market where males of working age were separated from others and destined to labour camps. The others, including women, children, and the elderly people, were driven in trucks to the edge of the forest. They then were matched towards the woods in small groups, forced to lay face down, and shot. After the massacre, their Major Wilhelm Trapp lined the soldiers in a semi cycle; he reminded them that the Jews were the enemy. He announced that if anyone felt like refraining, he/she should do it at that moment. There was a pause, then a soldier stepped forward, then a dozen other followed (Press 2).
It is crucial and critical to understand the magnitude of the things you do and identify the repercussions they would have. The soldiers had the chance to refuse to shoot because they were not under the pressure to shoot and could have refrained from the operation. The soldiers went forward with the massacre because of the fear that they could not do what the others were doing.
The second scenario happened in Vienna Austria, and Eric Billy who lives in Switzerland narrates it. Eric Billy, who is 80 years old, narrates on what he went through when he was 14 years old in 1938 when Nazi soldiers were attacking Jews. His mother thought about sneaking him to nearby Switzerland, which had for many years been a land that hosted refuges. Little did they know the government of Switzerland had changed the state of hosting refuges and had decided that they were to send them back. So Eric, after reaching the border, tried to sneak in by paying bribes and going through marshy land but was later caught and sent back. He did not lose hope but rather tried again and this time he was helped by the smugglers to reach a refugee camp in northeast Switzerland where he met Captain Paul who allowed him to stay, even though it was against the policies of Switzerland.
Captain Paul demonstrates that one should do things according to his or her principles. One does not have to be part of an action if he or she thinks it has to be done differently. He was in the authority but followed the human principles of helping the refugees rather than sending them back to their war torn country. It is always wiser to look at people and try to understand them, assuming the position they are facing.
The Third Scene
The third scene happened in Houston, Texas. It involved a woman called Leila, who was a divorced, single mother of two children and had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She had lost all her savings, but she decided she was going to fight and continue living. She started studying and went to business school; after a while, she got a series of seven certificates and become a financial broker. She got employed and raised the ladder slowly, and in the year 2000, she achieved her goal. She got a nice, good paying job and additional benefits of $150000 in terms of a bonus. She did her job as a broker and got suspicious of the company’s profits and did due diligence so that the company got 7-10% of interest. In 2002, she was fired because of the inquisitive character she had, and the company left her jobless to cater for two kids, which was rather difficult for her. She did not lose hope but instead wrote a letter to the authority explaining that Stamford Company was involved in fraud. The authority did not react, and in 2003, she wrote to the authority in Texas but to no avail. In 2004, she got a phone call explaining that the authority had found that Stamford Company had been involved with the second biggest fraud in America of $ 7 billion.
The third lesson is that one should be another brother’s keeper. If the company had followed Leila’s advice, the collapse of building would be impossible. Another point is that it is excellent to give someone a chance of expression rather than to dismiss the opinion. It is cruel to demean others and to take their thoughts as not important while their thoughts could save the day. All the three scenarios demonstrate what is required from people. The scene show the essence of pausing and thinking about the consequences of the actions you are about to undertake. Having the courage to stand up and say ‘NO’ or to oppose someone’s opinion takes a lot of strength. It is always wise to reason first before engaging in an act. Those who stand up courageously and oppose the authority are not against the system but rather they follow their principles.
In conclusion, human beings tend to be cruel to others when they are away from them or when they are not involved with them directly. If there are orders that are to be taken, human beings should have the nerve of pausing and weighing what they are about to carry out. It is also important for people delegating duties to have a leadership spirit and to ensure that they do not summon their juniors to unthinkable deeds. It is high time for people to stand up, say NO to unreasonable things, and create a favourable environment.