I just received a lovely note, and the following letter from Robi Damelin, who I wrote about in my previous blog post "The Courage to Forgive in the Holy Land." She found my recent blog on Ipeace. With Robi's permission, I share this letter from her, written yesterday...

BLACK - WHITE - AND GREY
By Robi Damelin

Of the Bereaved Parents Circle - Families Forum

How I wish I could view life through certain eyes of black and white, and that this grey picture which insists on coming up tells me that I do not have the monopoly on truth. How I wish I could manage my life with no questions. The only thing I am certain of, is that when the media goes away all those who have lost loved ones will experience a pain so great in the heart that they feel they will surely burst. This pain has no color, it is not predominantly green, or blue and white. This pain has no political identity and will always be with you no matter what mask you chose to wear on a particular day.

The mother in Gaza has been filled with dread since a week or so ago when 80 rockets were fired at Israeli towns which are just a stones throw away from her home. She knew with certainty that she would have to pay, and pay dearly for the bravado of her leaders refusing to renew any peace agreements, she sensed that she and all her neighbors would once again be the victims of politicians from both sides who only have one way of solving conflict, no matter how right they are, and that is by violence.

This mother, just like the one in Sderot, has no way of protecting her loved ones from the violence, her children , just like the children of the surrounding towns are innocent and should have the right to go to sleep at night without wetting their beds from fear , and without the dreadful nightmares they have.

So let us look at the black and white, through the eyes of these children who for so long are the pawns of people bent on a path of revenge, they scream from their shrouds, stop the killing , but no one hears, all are busy justifying their cause, egged on by their supporters in many lands, whose children are not dressed in uniforms or suffering the daily dreadful life of the Palestinian and dare I say the children living in the Kibbutzim and towns surrounding Gaza. How easy not to compromise when you are sitting in a safe place, and have never been put to the test. How easy not to compromise when your children are not hungry, and can not go to school, and have no future.

And so from a black and white point of view, those who live in the towns surrounding Gaza, those who fly the Blue and white, feel a sense of relief when they hear those voices announcing the beginning of a war, they do not see the grey of a future filled with more generations of hatred from their neighbors and possibly more sophisticated rockets to destroy their peace of mind and homes. There can be no winners in this war, only more broken hearts.

So what to do, with all of this grey, one thing for sure is that we have to talk to each other, and face up to the truth, that neither nation will disappear in a puff of smoke, we also have to compromise for the sake of those children screaming for safety, we must stop the method of revenge, and look for new solutions which do not involve killing, surely with all of the great minds in this area , we can come up with a peaceful way to live with some dignity.

I for one will continue with my work in the Parents Circle - Families Forum, bereaved Palestinian and Israeli Families for reconciliation, not with the attitude of black and white, but always with a tinge of grey, and the understanding that violence begets violence.

Robi Damelin - Tel - Aviv
Mother of David Killed in the conflict in 2002
Parents Circle - Families Forum
Bereaved Palestinian and Israeli families for Reconciliation.

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Comment by S.E.Ingraham on January 2, 2009 at 9:42am
Ah yes - a study in grey - how very eloquently you have expressed the grief that is coursing through me. The children, it's always the children who haunt me. They pay such a terrible price and have no control over anything. I cannot imagine being a parent on either side. The anxiety level must be beyond unreal. And to survive a child - how outside the natural order of things is that? That's always been one of my worst fears, to outlive either of my children - to lose one to an act of any kind of violence, never mind the senselessness of war - I do believe I would go insane. I admire your courage more than I can say Robi Damelin, and I think the formation of your bereavement group for both Palestinian and Israeli families for Reconciliation is one of the finest things to come out of this awful situation. Shame on the politicians and the war-mongers that they cannot look to the grieving and see such simplicity in your actions. Would that we all could carry your message to them, make them see, that yes, the Israelis and the Palestinians can sit down and talk - do you mean to say they have to sacrifice their children before you will listen? What a sad state of affairs.
Comment by Mo on January 1, 2009 at 7:31pm
People are fond of saying this is a war without end. Each side smugly blaming the other and refusing to stand down. I for one can not live with that simple self serving statement. It is impossible not to find hope and inspiration in the heroic women here who grieve and yet still hope with such amazing eloquence. I wish the mothers were running this world. There would be far fewer wars.

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