Rabbi Sacks on Reconciliation

JInsider (March 2010)

In 1999, at the end of the NATO operation in Kosovo, I made the trip to Pristina, capital of Kosovo, and I met with the head of the NATO forces’ General Sir Michael Jackson.

The Kosovan refugees who had fled, many of them to Macedonia, were just coming back, and the streets of Pristina were littered with bomb rubble. And you could see how the whole city had been devastated. And it was there that I saw the power of just a single word to change the world.

If the different groups, the Christians, Muslims in Kosovo were able to forgive one another, then they had a future. If they weren’t, then they would find themselves replaying the historic Battle of Kosovo 1389 again and again, until the end of time. You want to see the power of forgiveness to change the world? Stand in a bomb-littered landscape and ask yourself, “What can stop this happening in the future?” And the answer, reconciliation.

Somehow or other, we have to make peace, or else we are condemned to endless war.