To the Fighters of Today: an Open Letter
We the former fighters from all sects were swept by the civil war and we inherited a centuries old culture of sectarian strife which brought with it displacement and uprooting. We inherited a future that denies the right of the other to have a different opinion and that resorts to violence to solving conflict.
This culture created bloody wars that always ended with fragile settlements that always favoured one sect over another.
These wars only strengthened the sense of belonging to family and tribe and sect and area instead of belonging to the country, the country that is built on the premises of ensuring equal rights of home and transport and health and work and education to its citizens, the country that looks upon the diversity of its inhabitants as a gift and works hard to organise and improve their common issues and to give them opportunities.
We the former fighters have agreed to give up this culture of killing which with every explosion destroyed whatever elements of unity that had gathered together, and to create a new culture that respects diversity and works to protect it under the system of democracy.
We the former fighters have decided to become fighters for peace, and we have the following to say to the fighters of today:
From the depth of our pain at what our country is going through and the pain we feel watching our country slip into a civil war like the one we lived through for many long years of our lives, and from our pain at watching the youth of today getting dragged into carrying weapons and choosing violence instead of dialogue, like we did at the start of and during the civil war when we carried weapons and participated in the fighting, thinking that only we are right.
We destroyed our humanity more that anything else, and we killed our souls with every soul that fell because of us. We kidnapped many, we participated in battles on the front lines, we sniped and shelled areas, we destroyed, we burned down buildings and entire neighbourhoods without that changing the equation in the slightest.
Believe us when we say that you unfortunately will carry your sins all of your lives and regret does nothing to help.
We ask the fighters of today to realise what we realised way too late, that there are many who benefit from charging people politically and along sectarian lines, and that are trying to separate us and make us fight. Don't repeat the mistakes that we made. Everyone looses a civil war - even whoever thinks has won. There is nothing other than death and destruction.
The negative consequences of harming others, causing terror, endangering their homes and their properties are for the people to deal with while the leaders are distant from it. These leaders actually count on using people's fears and using the consequences of war to benefit and gain power. The result is more burning of bridges and building.
So let us rebuild these bridges and Let us tear down these walls.
Finally, when it comes to nations tomorrow is always right around the corner, and we will all sit together from all backgrounds to carry on building the country and society, so why burn this opportunity and then regret like we did, regret that we did not make an effort to understand the other or listen to him or love him.
Change is possible just like we have changed.
So let us make peace win over killing and dialogue win over fighting and love win over hatred.