Because … One Hundred years ago on 2nd November 1917 a letter was delivered whose fewer than seventy words would have far-reaching impact. Should we celebrate – or should we mourn? Should we rejoice – or apologise? Especially, if you are a person of faith – and especially of Jewish, Islamic or Christian belief – how should we view those 70 fateful words?
This blog will count down to that centenary date, the second day of November; by posting documents from official archives, or selections from the writings of people of the time, or of credible research on the circumstances. Those accounts are factual in the sense that they are part of the public record, yet much of it is a part of the narrative that is not generally known. It is kept from our eyes and ears and much is uncomfortable reading. No doubt I will be charged with being unbalanced. The charge is admitted just so long as it is also admitted that the received and accepted narrative is also unbalanced. Only when proper weight is given to all the stories will there be a real hope for peace based on genuine understanding. (and, by the way, a blog like this cannot provide that weight, it can only encourage us to try harder)
It is not essential that all agree on every part of every story. It is enough to begin with to acknowledge the right of the other for their story to be heard. We may then discover there is no single ‘truthful’ story, rather a set of stories that contradict, combine and teach, with the hope of leading to a place of mutual understanding in which peace might have a chance to flourish. I hope, over these next 100 days, to provide some kind of stimulus, something that will provoke interest, concern, anger and hope. That people make mistakes shouldn’t need saying: that we should learn from them, does. That means necessarily that, despite my efforts to be perfect, there may well be mistakes in these posts over the next 100 days. If you notice an error of fact I’d be obliged if you would point it out.