Correspondences World Leaders

Help Bring Us Together

January 16, 2017

The Hague, The Netherlands


His Holiness Pope Francis

Apostolic Palace

00120 Vatican City

The Holy See


Open letter from Abraham A. van Kempen to His Holiness Pope Francis, The Pope

Dear Papa Roma, Your Holiness,


Much of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is about dispossession and displacement, a struggle to give or take or keep ancestral land. On whose side is God, the God of Abraham, the God of the Jews, the God of the Christians and the God of Islam; the God of all mankind? The Promised Land (Hebrew: הארץהמובטחת‎, translit.: Ha'Aretz HaMuvtahat; Arabic:   أرضالميعاد ‎, translit.: Ard Al-Mi'ad) is the land which, according to the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible), was promised and subsequently given by God to Abraham and his descendants (Wikipedia: Promised Land).


Can you, will you help create safe and imaginative spaces for grappling with the hard questions of our times? Can you, will you help mediate to help bring the many voices of all sides into constructive conversations with each other, especially conversations among unlike-minded and perhaps even unlikely people?


God knows they have tried. Yet, often fruitless, though incessant, negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Madrid, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna still remain, optimistically stated, academic. If you were to invite those with divergent views to your table, each imposing upon you unique dietary demands, what would you serve them, figuratively speaking? Where would the conversations lead?


Clouds of darkness plagued mankind throughout the 20th Century: endless wars, conflicts, mass murder and 'ethnic cleansing’ causing indescribable suffering among millions of victims. The 20th Century leaves us a legacy of lessons (to be) learned. Above all, the previous century warns us what not to do. Wars beget more wars because war feeds hatred and devalues human dignity and human rights.


To paraphrase His Holiness Pope John Paul II: “Light outshines darkness. The light is the 'art of God', which is manifested in His plan for Humanity: the plan of peace and of love, of truth and of justice. Humanity must change its ways to usher in God's Plan for Mankind.” (Audience in the Vatican with Pope John Paul II, 24 January 2001)


Your Holiness, Papa Roma, can you, will you help guide us through the dark tunnels of the 21st Century, to help change our ways, to help usher God’s Plan for Mankind, to walk the path in the footsteps of Abraham, toward light?


With every good wish to Your Holiness, I am, 

Sincerely Yours,



Abraham A. van Kempen



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