Age 93 is not usually the time a man takes a stand for human rights and justice, but Stéphane Hessel was an extraordinary person who lived an extraordinary life. Someone who had not heard of him before reading his biography might think that he or she is reading an adventure novel.
By the end of 2011 when Hessel wrote Indignez-vous! (Time for Outrage!), he had lived a colorful life. He was French Resistance fighter, concentration camp survivor, diplomat, and a member of the committee that drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As he wrote in the beginning of Time for Outrage!: Ninety-three years. I’m nearing the last stage. The end cannot be far off.
The injustice that caused young Stéphane Hessel’s outrage against Nazism, forced him 66 years after fall of the Third Reich, to do the same thing. He wrote:
The power of money, which the Resistance fought against so hard, has never been as great and selfish and shameless as it is now, with its servants in the very highest circles of government. The banks, now privatized, seem to care primarily about their dividends, and about the enormous salaries of their executives, not about the general good. The gap between richest and poorest has never been so large, competition and the circulation of capital never so encouraged. (P. 22)
He wanted to inspire young people not to be silent:
...in fact our whole society, must not give up or let ourselves be overwhelmed by the current international dictatorship of the financial markets, which is such a threat to peace and democracy. I want you, each and every one of you, to have a reason to be outraged. (P. 23)
Human rights and dignity are now is more in danger than they were in 2011. It seems that things are going to be worse, because nothing can stop greed and dictatorship of the financial markets.
Stéphane Hessel is no longer alive but his invitation to a non-violent uprising for human rights and dignity survives.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the legacy of Stéphane Hessel and his colleagues. This document should be fortified by philosophy of right. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights must penetrate deeply in human society and reject “Might” as violator of human rights forever.