Wiesel: Accidents Pose Threat To Peace
May. 01, 1987
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel says accidents of modern technology and friction between small countries pose the greatest threats to world peace.
Wiesel, a survivor of Hitler's Auschwitz concentration camp, said Wednesday that compromise and settlements between small rival nations, as well as the two superpowers, must be hastened because ''time is running out.''
''The great powers do not scare me,'' he said. ''The accident is what frightens me. I'm afraid of an accident and I'm afraid of the small powers.''
One such accident could touch off chaos, he said, citing the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger and the Soviets' Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident as evidence that technology doesn't guarantee safety.
''Challenger probably was the instrument in the U.S. which was most cherished, adored and watched over as a god, as a divinity,'' he said. ''The scientists thought they knew every fiber, every cell, and yet it blew up.
''Maybe we thought it could only happen in a capitalist country, in America. So then we had the Chernobyl incident. ... The reactor there was probably as cherished as the Challenger was here. It went out of control.''
Because of those accidents and other threats evident in the world, Wiesel said, U.S. and Soviet officials are showing ''genuine interest'' in moving toward a nuclear arms agreement.
Wiesel, author of several books about the Holocaust who received the peace prize last year, made his comments at a news conference and later spoke at Omaha's City Auditorium.