Monday, 2 May 2011

a letter from Adrian Mitchell

As I've mentioned before, we are currently sorting through Adrian Mitchell's archive, where there are boxes and boxes of wonderful letters, notes, poems and plays. His wife, Celia, unearthed this letter today, and we wanted to share parts of it with you all. Today in particular, we feel it's extremely relevant.

This is part of a reply to a schoolgirl who had written to Adrian in the late 90s, telling him that the idea of war frightened her.

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February 1998.

Thank you so much for writing and sending me your letter. It was a bit like reading a letter from myself fifty years ago (I'm now a cheerful old grandfather of 65, still campaigning for peace, in fact my wife and I are going to a meeting about Iraq tonight at the House of Commons.) Yes.

You've got a great imagination, which is a burden and a blessing... Some people might say - turn your back on all the suffering in the world, for war and starvation and torture and oppression to go on. I think that's wrong...

...But you must be strong. It's not good thinking about the dark side of the planet obsessively or all the time. Your imagination should also delight in the beauty and warmth of the people and creatures around you, the joy and often absurdity of life.... It is important not just to have feelings about the horrors of today, but also to think and study hard to discover - what can be done to change all this? What can I do to change it?

I don't mean that you alone can abolish all the evil in the world magically. But maybe through your songs, or poems, you could change the lives of thousands of people you've never met. Or maybe you'll be a doctor and add to the healing part of the world's population, rather than the destructive side...

...I was a child in World War Two. I was really too young to be afraid then, even when the bombs were falling, for I didn't believe that it would ever happen to me. But many times since I have been afraid, for myself and my family, for my country and for the whole world.

But fear isn't the answer. Courage and hard work is the nearest I can find to one... I share your fear sometimes that the whole world seems to be in flames. Well, we better learn to be good firefighters and save all the people we can.

Yours, with love

Adrian

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