Musings —09.28.2016 07:54 AM—
I met him. I did, and I was better for it. More than 20 years ago, in Jerusalem. The next day, we Canadians were supposed to meet with the Palestinian leadership at Orient House. The Canadian Embassy was pushing us to do it, but we were a bit nervous.
Peres – sitting in his dimly-lit, main floor office, reminding me of a Colonel Kurtz in Heart of Darkness – looked at us, unblinking.
“You must go,” he said.
The cabinet minister I was with asked why. We were anxious about the controversy the visit may cause, he said.
“You must go,” Peres said. “They will never stop trying to kill us if they are hungry or lack shelter. We need them to succeed.”
I never forgot that – and it actually shaped my view of politics, in two ways. One, per Rabin, who do you make peace with but an enemy? So, in recent years, I have endeavoured to make peace with all my enemies. (Some I’ve tried to make peace with, but they rebuffed me. Their loss. I will tell them what I had to say at their grave site.)
Two, if people are desperate, and poor, and feel that they are despised, they will usually turn to violence to express their frustration and anger. Ipso facto, ISIS, et al.
What a giant of a man. We are all diminished by this loss, whether we presently know it now or not.