Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sophie Scholl - "I Choose My Own Way To Burn" ...

Sophie Scholl
Sophie Scholl was one of the 20th Century's unsung heroines. As part of the White Rose Group, she opposed the Nazi ideals during WWII - at a time when most if not all of her friends and peers had been taken in by propaganda and rhetoric.

The White Rose's legacy has significance for many, both as a demonstration of exemplary spiritual courage, and as a well-documented case of social dissent in a time of violent repression, censorship, and conformist pressure.

She was captured and executed by guillotine for treason, along with her brother Hans.

She was just 21 years old.

Some of her quotations are beautiful, but none more so than this, her most famous epitaph.
The real damage is done by those millions who want to 'survive.' 
The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves - or enemies. 
Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. 
Those who live small, mate small, die small. 
It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. 
But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. 
Safe?! 
From what? 
Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. 
I choose my own way to burn.
This has been wonderfully translated here to modern times and events by Gavin Aung Than, the artist known as Zen Pencils, who creates graphic artworks from inspirational quotations.

And finally, Sophie's last words before her execution:

How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? 
Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go. 
But what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?