We have to judge ourselves by whether we’ve lived up to our ideals and done our best. Not by the accumulation of power, wealth or fame; not for failing to achieve the impossible.
A famous Jewish story about that is the tale of Rabbi Zosia who said that he did not expect God to berate him for not having been Moses—who he wasn’t—but for not having been Zosia.
To me, that means we must do the best to be ourselves while trying to make ourselves as good as possible. I’ve really tried to do that. I don’t have big regrets, nor bitterness, nor would I have done things very differently.
And I’ve discovered the brave community of those who are supporting and encouraging each other in the battle against this disease.
Finally, I find myself identifying with a poem by a Turkish writer named Ilhami Bekir that goes like this:
“Neither vineyards, nor gardens
Do I ask.
Nor horses, nor sheep.
Don’t take my soul away,
I am curious.
I must see how this game ends!”
The game, of course, doesn’t end and I don’t expect to live to see utopia realized. But it would be nice to live long enough to see America and the world pass out from this current dreadful era, to see some restoration of sanity and reality, some kind of victory for goodness, some kind of restoration of intellectual standards, and a higher level of justice.
Some friends tell me they think we’ve turned the corner and that there’s real hope of beating the terrible forces that have messed up our societies and insulted our intelligence and tried to sully our reputations.
That’s something worth living for and fighting for. I hope to do it with you people as long as possible.
About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.
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