The last few weeks have been painful and scary and without much room for hopefulness. I want very much to offer and to share my voice but I feel that one more commentary or blog post or interpretation of the ‘facts,’ however insightful, will add very little. With that in mind I offer a poem.
by Andrew Lustig
Pronouncements of peace will be met,
not with skepticism,
but with a collective hopefulness.
The breath of a nation held longer than the lungs of any individual could.
Too many will have died. Even the bitter and the angry and the seekers of revenge will tire of their quest for ‘justice.’
They will settle for quiet. They will realize that ‘to settle… is not to sacrifice.’
The images of fear will be replaced.
Burnt out busses.
Something will feel odd – there will be an unsettling lightness – when we walk unto beaches and into malls without handing bags over to guards with guns.
The promises of our ancestors will be weighed against the promises to our children. One day we will look in the mirror and not recognize ourselves. One day. We will stop sleeping. Our dreams will haunt us. We will hate who we’ve become. We will do anything.
Revolutions wont just be for the young. And the naive. One day we will revolt not against the establishment but against ourselves.
We will realize that wars are painted in black and white no matter how we color them and that peace, no matter how dark its prospects seem, demands knowing the color of our enemies’ eyes.
One day I will shake the hand of the man whose father tried to kill mine. And my father his. And we will not embrace. We will want to hit each other. But out of respect for our children, who have found a ball and have made up a new game where they throw the ball to each other and try to catch it, we will grit our teeth and pinch our lips and grip as tightly as we can and nod.
We will dream again.
It will not be a dream.
One day we will ask ourselves how we could have been so… so much like our parents.
This poem will be about today.
Note: This poem was inspired by the paragraph starting ‘Thus’ on page 464 of the book ‘Prime Ministers’ by Yehuda Avner. The passage is about how Israelis waited outside the King David Hotel, silent and waving Egyptian flags, when Anwar Sadat came to Jerusalem to discuss peace with Menachem Begin in November, 1977. Imagine something like that happening today…