If we were able to bring Rajiv Gandhi back to life, we would do so. So would we, if we could, turn back the clock to before his assassination to prevent it. Since we cannot, we must look beyond this tragedy to what it symbolizes and ask ourselves if such human behavior must continue to be accepted? Is this not the time when we must assume the responsibility to avoid such occurrences in the future?
Given all of the diversity in the human realm, including the diversity in perspective and will, we must now focus our attention on means for peaceful reconciliation of the natural differences that exist among us which sometimes lead to destructive human conflict. Having taken on other seemingly impossible challenges that have resulted in our ability to split the atom, to engineer genes, are we now not ready to take on the human atom, the human dimension?
Do such events as in India and elsewhere not suggest that this is the most important challenge of our time? Is it not now time to manifest the will to understand differences among individuals, groups, societies and nations in a mutually respectful way?
While it has been said that where there is a will there is a way, it is also true that where there is a way there is not always the will. The way is clear. It is the will that we now must find.
JONAS SALK, MD
Salk Institute, San Diego