Sunbeams  October 2008 | issue 394

They buried the hatchet, but in a shallow, well-marked grave.

Dorothy Walworth

In the conflict between Israelis and Arabs you have wounded civilizations — the Arabs have been wounded in their dealings with the West, and an insecure Jewish people have gone through terrible disasters and traumas. There is no end to the Jewish quest for security, and there is no end for the Arab quest for redress and dignity. It is very difficult to reconcile the two.

Itamar Rabinovich

Whenever two good people argue over principles, they are both right.

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.

James Baldwin

The face of the enemy frightens me only when I see how much it resembles mine.

Stanislaw J. Lec

I believe every act of violence is also a message that needs to be understood. Violence should not be answered just by greater violence but by real understanding. We must ask: “Where is the violence coming from? What is its meaning?”

Jean Vanier

Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry.

Lyman Abbott

People do not always argue because they misunderstand one another; they argue because they hold different goals.

William H. Whyte Jr.

There’s a saying in the Middle East that a foreign journalist who comes there and stays a week goes home to write a book in which he presents a pat solution to all of the Middle East’s problems. If he stays a month, he writes a magazine article filled with “if’s” and “but’s” and “on the other hand’s.” If he stays a year, he writes nothing at all, for the complexities and paradoxes of this explosive area have left him bewildered and confused.

From a 1962 editorial in the Saturday Evening Post

What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly — that is the first law of nature.

Voltaire

Do not take sides; if you take sides, you are trying to eliminate half of reality, which is impossible. For many years the United States has been trying to describe the Soviet Union as the evil side. . . . If we look at America very deeply, we see the Soviet Union. And if we look deeply at the Soviet Union, we see America. If we look deeply at the rose, we see the garbage; if we look deeply at the garbage, we see the rose. In this international situation, each side is pretending to be the rose and calling the other side garbage.

Thich Nhat Hanh

One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.

Agatha Christie

During the Civil War Abraham Lincoln had occasion at an official reception to refer to the Southerners rather as erring human beings than as foes to be exterminated. An elderly lady, a fiery patriot, rebuked him for speaking kindly of his enemies when he ought to be thinking of destroying them. “Why, madam,” said Lincoln, “do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

Bartlett’s Book of Anecdotes

An enemy is a person whose story we have not heard.

Gene Knudsen Hoffman

We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together or we are going to learn to live together, and if we are to live together we have to talk.

Eleanor Roosevelt

We cannot force those we want to forgive into accepting our forgiveness. They might not be able or willing to do so. They may not even know or feel that they have wounded us. We can only change ourselves. Forgiving others is first and foremost healing our own hearts.

Henri J.M. Nouwen

The Jews and Arabs should sit down and settle their differences like good Christians.

Warren Robinson Austin

If you really want the last word in an argument, try saying, “I guess you’re right.”

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