The letter I hope our grandchildren never have to read

It’s 2am.  Can’t sleep.  This time my thoughts take me elsewhere.  I stop thinking about the horrible past few weeks and the tragic reality of our generation and start thinking about the reality of another generation.  My thoughts our with my unborn children and grandchildren.

This is the letter which I am so grateful never to have received from my grand parents – and it is one that we should all hope our grandchildren never to have to receive from us.

As I look around me, and take in the voices of those who still condemn Israel, in spite of the actions of organizations such as Hamas, I grow more concerned and more confident, that our children’s children will look back, from the miserable existence they will have inherited from us, and want to ask us:

How did you not learn? How did you manage to stay so complacent for so long – after the 20th century, with its two World Wars, Stalin, the genocides in Iraq and Syria (to mention only two of many), and persistent acts of terrorism by terrorists who openly, consistently and honestly called for your destruction?  For so long, that you ended up losing the war against such dark forces and leaving them, in essence, as your legacy – and our current oppressors?

How did you fail – for so long – to understand that values, important as they may be in defining who we are and how we must live, are not absolutes – and are only means to a better life – NOT objectives in and of themselves?“.

To those future generations, who I fear will have cause to ask these questions, I can only say: I tried!  My people tried. Together with too few among our declared allies, we fought relentlessly – with force and with words – for the attention and cooperation of the world and for the survival of freedom and democracy.

  • We challenged ourselves endlessly to find that delicate, and frequently impossible, balance between keeping our values alive and staying alive.
  • We remained part of an international community of countries called the United Nations – in spite of inherent and deadly faults in this institution’s structure and standard procedures.  These faults not only enabled the consistent battering and discrimination against my own country, Israel, but in fact allowed for the rising of dark regimes – the ancestors of those who oppress you today. They were openly permitted to take advantage of this institution’s humane and democratic values, perverting them again and again, until they were able to bring to its complete destruction.
  • We spent painfully large amounts of resources developing defensive, rather then offensive capabilities – and when we did invest in offensive capabilities, we did NOT do so in a way that would magnify their damaging impact on our enemies, but rather the exact opposite; building the most accurate and precise weapons that would enable us to stay true to our commitment to minimizing casualties among innocent civilians – even when our enemies purposefully fought in proximity to them, and went so far as to using them as human shields (knowing – rightly – that this would discredit us and paint us as the villains – driving attention away from their brutal and inhuman philosophies and practices).
  • We sacrificed the most precious of our young men and women by sending them into battle by land (after giving notice to the innocent civilians who reside there and in effect giving up the critically important element of surprise) instead of using superior weapons WHICH WE HAD, only to further ensure the preservation of innocent lives, as well as of our values – which were barbarically under attack.

We really tried.  You have to believe me that we tried – with all of our might.  Day and night, with full resolve. But still, tragically, we failed.

Our resolve and our strength might have been enough to overcome our enemies – but not enough to also overcome the naivety of even our dearest of allies – a naivety fueled by misguided paradigms which gave all the weight to “good intentions” and no weight at all to bad outcomes.

Our greatest obstacles were the “enlightened intellectuals” who were simply trapped – I can find no better word – in their own romantic visions of how the world, and humanity, must ideally exist – with a mind boggling blindness to how the world currently IS.  And so, in their quest for morality and that “better world” – they condemned and sacrificed those who were actually fighting to secure it, all the while elevating and empowering precisely those who would kill them and their precious values and bring about an exact opposite existence. Those empowered “evils” were the ancestors of your oppressors today.

I don’t know if knowing exactly how hard we tried to avoid this horrible legacy, which you inherited from us (from our failure to stand up for freedom) gives you any consolation.

I don’t know if any consolation can be found when living in such a dark world – as you surely must be inhabiting – controlled by religious fundamentalist who ended democracy, morality, pluralism and personal freedom in the world.

I guess I will never know.

But perhaps, which these words committed to paper, I can finally manage to fall asleep, with a glimmer of hope that you will find it within yourself to forgive us (though I know we do not truly deserve it).

About the Author
Ariel Halevi co-founded Debate Company (now Vayomar) together with Gur Braslavi back in 2003. Ariel holds an MA in Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism and a BA in Government and Diplomacy from the Interdisciplinary College in Hetrzlia (Israel). Prior to his studies, Ariel founded and managed several Israel hi-tech companies. Ariel holds a Master’s degree in Government specializing in National Security Studies and Counter-Terrorism (at the school for International Students conducted in English). During his academic studies, Ariel was the President of the competitive Debate Club at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya and was the Debate champion in Israel for two consecutive years and in Oxford, England.
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