Opinionista Kalim Rajab 27 July 2018

The saddest sentence ever written

An open letter to the US Ambassador to South Africa.

Madam – This letter currently has no delivery address, seeing as, close on 20 months after the new administration has taken office, it’s not yet seen fit to appoint a replacement to the previous incumbent, Ambassador Patrick Gaspard. I do hope with American’s long history of friendship and interest in our country that you’re able to assume your post and read this letter in the not too distant future.

Anyway, the point of my letter.

According to lore, Ernest Hemingway won a bet with friends to write a novel in six words, when he wrote what has been described as the saddest sentence ever written. His piercingly moving effort, which still has the power to haunt, was:

For sale, Baby shoes, Never worn.”

Those sad words would have been written in the United States almost a century ago. With the news coming out of the United States border centres tonight*, the thought occurred to me that through the actions of the current administration which you represent, our generation’s saddest sentence has become something like this:

Belatedly released, the immigrant child could not recognise her own mother.”

Yours in sadness,

Kalim Rajab. DM



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