Thursday, 12 February 2015

Letter to a Hostage: friendship beyond difference.

Antoine De Saint-Exupery not only wrote the beautiful book, The Little Prince, but many other works including one named Letter to a Hostage, a small gem of a book which ponders existence. Near to the end of the letter he writes the following words which speak of a rare quality of friendship. The words are both timeless and concrete for his situation and the present troubled days. 

'That is undoubtedly why, my friend, I need your friendship so badly. I long for a companion who, above the disputes of reason, will respect in me the pilgrim of that light. I need to feel sometimes, in advance, the promised warmth, and to rely, beyond myself, upon that rendezvous which will be ours. I am so weary of polemics, exclusiveness and fanaticism. I can come to you without having to wear a uniform, without having to recite the Koran, without denying anything of my inmost world. With you I do not have to justify myself, to plead or to prove; I find peace as I did at Tournus. Beyond awkward words, beyond deceiving statements, you only consider the [person] in me. You honour in me the ambassador of special beliefs, customs, and lore. If I am different from you, far from depriving you, I augment you. You question me as one questions a traveller.
    As like anyone else, I need to be appreciated, I feel pure in you and come to you. I need to go where I am pure. Neither my sayings nor my doings have taught you who I am. But because you have accepted me as I am, you are indulgent, when necessary, towards those doings and sayings. I know that you are prepared to accept me as I am. What could I do with a friend who would judge me? When I welcome a friend, if he is lame, I invite him to sit down and do not ask him to dance.
     My friend, I need you as one needs a space where one can breathe... '

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