The two speeches orated by Elie Wiesel and Hilary Rodham Clinton were delivered in 1995 to influence change. Wiesel’s, ‘Listen to the silent screams’ was delivered at Auschwitz. World leaders and survivors listened as he influenced the audience to act upon racial hatred and religious extremism. Clinton delivered her speech at the United Nations 4th conference on Women’s Rights Plenary Session in Beijing. This is ironic given China’s poor record for human rights violations, particularly against females.
Delegates and women from all over the world came to hear her rebuttal, ‘Women’s rights are human rights’. Both Wiesel’s and Clinton’s speeches are relevant today as both their aspirations of human rights for all have not yet been fully realised. Both speakers broadcast their message by addressing the audience through exhibiting their authority and rhetorical devices. Both speakers establish authority and credibility for themselves as speakers and for their cause in different ways. Wiesel is authoritative as he has lived through the Holocaust, whereas Clinton is authoritative as she is an active feminist.
Wiesel addresses his audience by using personal pronouns to create equality, “I speak to you as a man, who 50 years and nine days ago had no name, no hope, no future and was known only by his number, A7713”. This statistical information shows the formality of the occasion and establishes that being in Auschwitz has influenced his view on humanity. He “has seen what humanity has done to itself by trying to exterminate an entire people and inflict suffering and humiliation and death on so many others.
Wiesel does not specifically identify one group of people for doing this; he influences the audience to understand whole of humanity was responsible for Auschwitz. Contrastingly, Clinton establishes her authority by being female, by being indefatigable, and by speaking to and for women from all over the world. She states, “Over the past 25 years I have worked persistently on issues relating to women, children and families. ” This shows she is serious about women’s right, it is something she strongly believes in, and her commitment to the cause is absolute. Clinton has worked on women’s rights for “the past 25 years”.
Not only is she committed, in addition she brings experience. By listing countries in which she has talked to mothers about their issues, “I have met new mothers in Indonesia… Denmark… South Africa… India… Bangladesh… Belarus… Ukraine… Chernobyl… ”, she highlights her credibility to appear influential and qualified to act as a voice on their behalf. She has met mothers who are voiceless, now she has the responsibility to speak out, to be the one voice that is heard. Both speakers establish their authority by validating their cause and using rhetorical devices .
Wiesel uses emotive language and imagery, whereas Clinton appeals to fact. Imagery is used in Wiesel’s speech to capture the surreality of the Holocaust. Clinton uses fact to update the audience with reality of the world, and influences the audience with statistical information. Wiesel uses representative figures of mothers and old men and women, “Listen to the silent screams of terrified mothers, the prayers of anguished old men and women. ” The use of the emotively loaded adjectives ‘terrified’ and ‘anguished’ shows the reader their vulnerability. Prayers’, shows helplessness and desperation as there was nothing they could do but hope. Their prayers went unanswered, as did the silent screams. Wiesel uses anaphora and imperative to influence the reader the dead have never been laid to rest, “Listen to the tears of children, Jewish children, a beautiful little girl among them, with golden hair, whose vulnerable tenderness has never left me. ” Wiesel influences the audience to pity the children, the most innocent of mankind. He achieves this by describing a representative figure who stands for all Jewish children.
Through the description of, ‘vulnerable tenderness’ he emphasises the frailty and innocence of children, while showing that this was brutally crushed. There was no mercy. The weak were tormented, the most innocent were sentenced to a death both unimaginable and undignified, “Look and listen as they quietly walk towards dark flames so gigantic that the planet itself seemed in danger. ” The metaphor shows the quantity and mass of the deaths, that people were being murdered on such a large scale that it seemed as if the whole world would be consumed.
In contrast to Wiesel, Clinton used statistics throughout her speech to underline the importance of women’s rights. Statistics were used to give the reader an idea of scale, “Women comprise more than half the world’s population, 70% of the world’s poor, and two-thirds of those who are not taught to read and write. ” Incorporating researched data gives realism and urgency. When statistics are used the audience is able to comprehend what is happening and who is involved. By using examples Clinton is telling the audience it should not be a problem as it involves at least half of the world’s population.
Clinton gives examples from all over the world of what is happening, one of them being, “It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls”. Notice in this it is not only stated as a violation of women’s rights, but a violation of human rights. We are human, and we have rights. The violence needs to stop; in the name of humanity as a whole. Both Wiesel and Clinton are telling the world through the power of rhetoric, that change is needed.
These speeches are relevant and persistent today. The issue of effectively opposing religious fanaticism, racial hate, and building gender equality have enduring relevance in all countries. With, “… let us stop the bloodshed in Bosnia, Rwanda and Chechnia; the vicious and ruthless terror attacks against Jews in the Holy Land”, Wiesel is saying humanity has turned on itself before, and suffered before, yet we have not learned. He commands we must “reject and oppose more effectively religious fanaticism and racial hate”.
Allow the Holocaust to be the past, Wiesel urges we must focus on a safer future for our children so that the millions who died in the Holocaust did not do so in vain. Clinton speaks to the world, urging the importance of gender equality, “Even now, in the late 20th century, the rape of women continues to be used as an instrument of armed conflict”. In this she gives an example of why gender equality needs to occur by giving an example of what is happening today. Both speakers influence the audience through exhibiting their authority and use of power, they show that these issues are pressing and cannot be ignored.