Amos Oz

Dear Ms Drinka Gojkovic & Mr. Veran Matic,

Thank you for your fax message of May 11th which had reached me only 4 days ago. As you may know Israel had very crucial general elections and the returns may bring about a revival of the Mideast peace process. How I wish the same will soon happen in former Yugoslavia. I believe in a negotiated solution on one strict provision: that no one of the parties carries out any violent actions or creates facts on the ground during the negotiation period. I never believed in collective guilt which I regard as a monstrous concept, but I do believe in collective responsibility. Guilt and responsibility are, of course, totally different concepts. Guilt calls for atonement and sometimes for punishment. Responsibility means the need to mend, amend or compensate the victims for the crimes committed by the group or the collective as such.

This, of course, is much too abstract and much too cryptic, yet under the circumstances I cannot write a longer piece for you. I want to emphasis yet again that I think guilt can only be personal whereas responsibility is sometimes collective. What is the answer for the catastrophe in Yugoslavia, I don't know. I wish I did. I am sure however, that negotiations must be resumed and that all forms of violence and atrocities must cease so that no one can exploit the negotiation period in a dishonest way.

Yours sincerely
Amos Oz