Solidarity is possible

Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2001

Should we go to war? Will we? I have no clue. I have no idea. Before I speak any more, let me say that the only certainty I have is that any one who postures an ideal with absolute certainty, is a person I don't trust. The people who killed so many innocent human lives had certainty. The people crying for immediate war have certainty. I have, or believe I have, humility. Humility is confidence without the pretense of certainty.

Our leadership must gather heroic quality. Our leadership must gather vision, clear and streaming vision, through dust. Vision through shouting and crying terror on all sides, viewpoints, anger, and demands in every angle. Our leadership must wager with true and actual lives. Great respect I have for these leaders who must make grave decisions. Greater respect I have for the soldiers who will face someone where death will come of either man.

Should we go to war? Will we? No philosophy or school of thought I have matches the true intensity and reality of facing the gun, with gun in hand. No idea that comes of me, no thought or revelation, no amount of diplomacy, matches the purity and terror of Kill or Be Killed. In my present state of mind, I say with clarity that I am a pacifist. I say, in my place, and not with an arrogant sniff, and not with a platform to stand on, and not with a higher sense of myself than others, I say that I would rather die than be killed. But I say that without ever having been in a true life-sacrificing moment. I say this with humility. I say that I need the strength, and hopefully will some day know that I have the strength, to face my end with love, even with love for the person who would take my life away. No grandstanding mockery, no finger-pointing lecturing, no selfish attempts at filling any emptiness in my soul, stands in the message I bring to the community of Juneau. My message comes from the love I've learned from Jesus Christ and Martin Luther King Jr., and Mohandus Gandhi, or any other human being who loves mankind. It comes from the love I've received from my family, and it comes from every one and every thing I've ever loved. I am no better, or more certain, or more intelligent than any person that thinks different than me. I am not trying to preach, not trying to lecture, not trying to hurt. And, good God, I am not trying to be a martyr. I am trying to respond to all that's happened to us, with love.

Worldwide solidarity can come from all of this. That is the one vision that I have, whether I am a leader or not. Please forgive me if anything I have said offended you in any way. Thank you.

Ishmael C. Hope


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