September 28, 2016
The Passing of Israel’s Man of Peace and Nobel Laureate, President Shimon Peres
2016 has so far not been a particularly great year for me. It is in fact a time of sadness and serious contemplation. Earlier I lost my childhood friend and Malaysia’s Iron Gate Footballer, Dato’ Yusoff Bakar, followed by the death in San Francisco of Dato’ Dr. Haron Din who is a model of a good Muslim (his politics aside), and then the passing of my golfing hero and legend, Arnold D. Palmer. Today I learn that my favourite Middle East statesman and a man of Peace, Nobel Laureate President Shimon Peres has died.
People in Syria and the Middle East, and elsewhere are dying daily because leaders of powerful countries and their proxies cannot talk peace. The rest of us are content to watch the carnage on the sidelines. We seem to have forgotten what Shimon Peres had tried to accomplish in his life time.
To Prime Minister Bibi Nyatenyahu and the people of Israel, and in particular readers in Israel on my blog, I wish to express our sincere condolences (Dr. Kamsiah and I) on the passing of their former President. Let us all remember the deeds and celebrate the life of President Shimon Peres. –Din Merican and Dr. Kamsiah Haider.
Shimon Peres, the last of Israel’s founding fathers, was an effective orator, and over the decades was a fountain of seemingly effortless bons mots and poetic musings on war, peace and Israel’s future. Here are some of his best:
I’ve been controversial for most of my life. Suddenly, I’ve become popular. I don’t know when I was wrong, then or now.
September 2007, Haaretz
Sometimes people ask me, ‘What is the greatest achievement you have reached in your lifetime or that you will reach in the future?’ So I reply that there was a great painter named Mordecai Ardon, who was asked which picture was the most beautiful he had ever painted. Ardon replied, ‘The picture I will paint tomorrow.’ That is also my answer.
May 2011, Maariv
At my age, after looking back, if I feel that I have to make a choice between being experienced and cynical or being curious and innocent, I prefer the second. It is much more appealing.
For peace, one must remember: As a bird cannot fly with one wing, as a man cannot applaud with one hand, so a country cannot make peace just with one side, with itself. For peace, we need the two of us.
June 1996, at Hebrew University in Jerusalem
He who has despaired from peace is the one hallucinating. Whoever gives in and stops seeking peace — he is naïve, he is the one who is not a patriot! In order to be practical and not hallucinate and not be naïve, there is a need to recognize several basic truths that are sharp, clear and eternal:
Israel will not have permanent security without peace. Israel will not have a stable thriving economy without peace. Israel will not have a healthy society free from poverty and discrimination without peace. Israel has no chance of preserving its Jewish democratic character without peace. Israel will be giving up its future if it sees the status quo as its desire.
November 2014 at Rabin Square
It took Zionism 25 years to overcome its great error — its attempt to ignore the existence of the Palestinians in this land — and Oslo was the true and correct beginning of such a solution. More than anything else, Oslo was proof that we can live in this land another way.
September 2003, Ma’ariv
I believe that in foreign policy, it is better to talk like a lion in a sheep’s skin rather than a sheep in a lion’s mane. It’s a matter of taste. I think it is more effective to understate.
April 2012, Ma’ariv
The nuclear option is that most of our neighbors, who want to destroy us, believe that Israel has the capability to destroy them. Their suspicion is our strength.”
November 2009, Yedioth Ahronoth
There is no doubt that an Iran with nuclear weapons is a mortal danger. I also have no doubt that Israel has to view this matter with all seriousness and gravity. Iran is a danger to the entire world. It is currently as dangerous to America as it is to Israel, and that is a good union. We have often been alone.
August 2012, Mako
Jewish history is devoid of any desire to rule over another people. I think that what is happening now is a deviation. All the people who ruled over us have been erased from the stage of history. We are the only ones who never ruled over anyone else, and we prevailed.
February 1988, The Jerusalem Post
I support the right of every human being to marriage, including gay marriage. Every human being has the right to breathe fresh air, to eat food, to fall in love with whoever they want. According to our tradition, we are all created equal.
December 2013, Facebook
Science and Technology
We know already that computers are mightier than guns. We know that the new opportunities reside in the campuses of the scientists, rather than in the camps of the army.
May 1994, at the signing of the Gaza-Jericho Accord
You know what our greatest lack is? It’s that we have nothing. This small piece of land is an arid land — swamp in the north, desert in the south, and no water. We have two lakes — one is dead, the other dying. We have one river — which has fame but no water. If you want to pray, you go to the Jordan River, but if you want to irrigate, go somewhere else.
November 2011, CNN