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Published on Saturday, October 13, 2001 in the Los Angeles Times
Give Our Enemies a Face
by Ellen Dennin
A friend once told me that there were only seven people in the world--they were just moving very fast. At the time, I laughed. Today, I see another meaning. I see I know one of the seven and this one has led me to know the second.

The person who let me see this is my daughter, Emma Simone-- Emuna Shimona. Her Hebrew names mean "faith" and "one who listens." She is one of the seven people who make up the world. She is the child.

In this time of war, I look at her and I see in her face the faces of thousands of other children. I see them stupefied by war, which they know as hunger, the loss of their parents and loved ones, bodily harm to themselves. When I hold my child, I feel that I hold all children who were born to loving arms unable to keep out horror and suffering from that embrace. I measure their days of suffering and ask why we allow their brutalization. I have terrible nightmares and see Emma/Faith taken from me, Emma/Faith hungry, alone, unprotected, dying, and I am powerless to stop all this.

One of the seven is the child, and another is the parent. Each of us has the potential to be the parent, to nurture all the world's children through deeds of loving kindness and the moral repair of the world.

What keeps us from seeing the common face of humanity is the communities to which we belong. A community has boundaries. It lets some in and keeps others out. Those outside become the enemy. Their death and suffering become no person's death and no person's suffering.

Hatred fractures the only seven people in the world into millions of fragments. Jewish tradition says that with each birth the entire world is reborn. The death of each person is the extinction of a world of possibility.

We cannot bear the loss of one person. We cannot continue to take these risks. We must restore to our enemies a human face. We must end our false vision of separateness and allow the possibility for the seven to re-create the world.

Copyright 2001 Los Angeles Times


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