THOLOS OF ATHENA

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL

Is there anything we can do to stop the madness of war? Or are we on the road to our own destruction? I feel I have to do something, even if it is to write a pathetic letter to someone who either will never lay eyes on it, or if he happens to glance at it, will, in all liklihood, shrug and go on with his program of death.

I have watched mortified as our own architects of war--Bush, Condoleeza Rice, John Bolton, and practically the entire U.S. Congress, continually discouraged a ceasefire and cheered on the complete destruction of Lebanon by Israel, which has featured the targeting of civilians, over a third of whom are children under the age of thirteen.

It seems once the lizard mind contracts into itself, there's not much room left for human concerns, only the worship of weapons and war; no time, no place for idle thoughts, of families driven from their homes by the thousands, of children lying in the rubble of this disease.

So, I begin to write letters. What for? Who knows? Perhaps simply to assuage my own impotence.
June 29, 2006

Ehud Olmert
Prime Minister
Israel

Dear Mr. Olmert,

Sir, I am heartsick at the war in your homeland. I write to you with no political agenda, other than the belief in my heart that wars will never cease until we begin to change our innermost feelings and minds about war—until it becomes unacceptable.

I am an artist in America. I don't care about your politics or theirs. I care about people. Human lives. Women, children, uncles, cousins, grandmothers. It is beyond me why we are so intent on destroying each other. Are we not better than this, Mr. Olmert? When children get into fisticuffs on the playground, what is the first thing we do as adults? Do we tell them to “just keep fighting” till one kid is the winner and the other left maimed or dead? No. We pull them apart, do we not? We separate them, make them sit down and talk. Yet, we are incapable of doing this thing for ourselves! What a lesson for our children!

Mr. Olmert, I know you are tired of talking. I know you feel it is pointless. Please, my friend, allow me to suggest that it is anything but pointless. Let me, in fact, suggest that even if it seems to lead nowhere, it is still a success. Why? Because at the end of it, everyone is still alive! Still looking each other in the eye, still able to shake hands, perhaps to forgive, to find some core of hope and humanity in the other. Still able to go home to our wives and children. And still able to come back the next day, to sit down, hold hands around the table and pray together for peace. And then. . .talk some more!

And because the alternative. . .well, we all know what that is, don't we?—bombing and killing—only leads to more death, to the end of all hope, and nothing ever resolved. Only more innocent children lying in the rubble of our adult lunacy, pettiness, and closed hearts.

This is what I know, Mr. Olmert. I know that we are none of us perfect. I know we are all broken. And so often I think, if only we could see this, maybe it would be easier to come together to heal our brokenness, in respect of our mutual humanity. We cannot fight for peace by fighting. I'm certain this is what we would tell our children. What do we tell ourselves?

I close with a prayer—a fervent prayer. . .for you, for your people, for theirs, for us. . .everywhere. Everywhere. God. Give. . .Us. . .Peace!

In friendship,

Grayson Harper.

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