To the Children     

Ernesto Sábato

Dear Children,

You know, you have had to learn how power wins, how men kill for power. You have had to learn, you have seen it on television, the atrocity of the bombing, of the massacres, of the misery, of the horror of war to those who are its victims.

You also know that other children like you will see their parents and brothers and sisters die of pain. But power doesn’t care about that.

You also know that millions and millions of people have demonstrated their desire for peace in the streets of the world, their opposition to this war. But this also doesn’t seem to matter to power.

Then, given the gravity of the situation we are experiencing, I come to give testimony to you that we must maintain the decision to not accept the war, to not be resigned to it.

It is necessary, dear children, to keep the flame of humanity’s pain burning in our souls, and be true.

If this determination remains, it will be unbreakable. They may make war, but they will know that they are murderers, that the children of the world call them that.

The bitter present that confronts us demands that our words, our gestures, our deeds are devoted – in true compliance with out highest vocation – to expressing our anguish, the danger, the horror, but also the hope, the courage and the solidarity of humanity.

In this terrible situation, every man and every woman, and you too, children, are called to embody an ethical commitment that leads us to express the heartbreak of thousands and thousands of people whose lives are being reduced to silence by arms, violence and exclusion.

It has become evident that those who hold power make decisions which are contrary to the opinion of the rest of humanity, atrocious wars which sustain the powerful countries against the helpless peoples using the sinister irony of protecting humanity.

Confronted with these deeds – violence and the death of our brothers and sisters, we must resist in order to protect that absolute where life and values are no longer
bartered, thereby attaining to the highest measure of human greatness.

Peace is a supreme and sacred word in all languages. It expresses God’s wish for men. The wish for a kingdom of peace and justice; the peace and justice we are here to demand and testify to.

The author read this text during a demonstration for peace in the city of Buenos Aires.

Ernesto Sábato is Argentina’s foremost living writer.