“A letter to Leah Rabin”

November 07, 2003

[Note by Tom Gross]

Yesterday, Thursday, November 6, 2003, Israel marked the 8th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Flags were flown at half-mast and memorial ceremonies were held around the country.


I attach:

A letter to Leah Rabin

[Bat-Chen Shahak was 13 years old when she wrote the following poem, shortly after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995. Bat-Chen was killed in a terrorist bombing at Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv on March 4, 1996. Translated from the Hebrew.]

Three shots and it's all over -
Now one talks about him in the past tense.
Suddenly the present becomes the past.
And the past is only a memory.
We are standing, crying.
We want to believe it never happened,
That it is all a nightmare.
And when we wake up the next morning - it will not be so.
Instead, we wake up to a warped reality,
Where pain is laced with hate.
We cannot digest the enormity of this loss,
And we cannot comprehend its severity.
How can we understand such a tragedy,
In a civilization and not in the jungle?
Each one of us holds an opinion.
Yet, we do not have to agree.
We cannot turn the clock back,
But we can stop for today and remember.
For in a few days we will return to normality,
While the family is left to cope,
With this abomination!
It is like that first fallen domino,
That provokes a chain reaction.
We were beheaded, in every sense of the word.
And now it all crumbles.
As though he were the head, and we the body,
And when the head does not exist - the body dies!
It is impossible to build with parts that do not fit,
It is impossible to build with mismatched bricks.
It is an art to build a straight tower,
But a single kick can shatter it all.
And then,
One can destroy a State!
I do not know why they search for guilty parties,
I think we are all guilty for not showing how much we loved him.
Like the children that grow up.
And only then understand their parents.
And sometimes it is too late ...
They ask for forgiveness, they write and they cry.
Maybe I am too naive.
But I cannot understand,
How people,
Take the law into their own hands!
How can we take the best gift ever given -

We are all one.
We share the same fate.
Old and young,
We stand grasping each other
And we cry ...
It seems, even the essence of life,
Is belittled next to your greatness.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.