I had woken this morning to the sound of the pitter-pat of my servants scurrying around in the cabin, packing my things before we left later this day. Coming to America to settle this dispute between President Sadat of Egypt and I with the United States’ President, Jimmy Carter, has proven to be as strenuous as I previously thought. Our two countries have been quarreling for decades, and so far a deadlock has been underway between Sadat and I. I knew Carter had a farewell planned for Sadat and I, so I put on the latest European sports suit and began to prepare for the inevitable goodbyes.
As I was praying to clear my mind of pre-flight jitters, one of my servants lightly knocked on the door of my room. Apparently President Carter had arrived to my cabin early with a special farewell gift. I requested to my servant, “Tell him I shall be with him in approximately three minutes. Oh, and please offer him some sort of parchment while he waits.” He nodded and closed the door on his way out. My mind began to wander with questions: What could he have for me? What would be so important as to arrive this early? I hurried through the remaining prayers and nervously opened the door to the moment that would change millions of people’s lives for centuries to come.
As I stepped out into the main living space, the smell of coffee and and freshly smoked salmon wafted in my direction. These familiar scents of home put my mind at ease while I made my way towards President Carter. The room grew hot as I saw what he had for me. Carter smiled warmly and greeted me, “Good morning Prime Minister Begin! I’m sorry to drop by so early but I wanted to give you these before we all left this afternoon.” I greeted him back and he gently handed me a small stack of signed pictures of Carter, Sadat, and I that we had taken the day before. I ran my finger over the smooth, glossy images which bore each of my grandchildren’s names with personal messages for each of them from Carter and Sadat. Just seeing their names poured the realizations over me of just how long I had been missing from their presence. As I stared at the names on the pictures, so eloquently written, my eyes began to burn with tears. Just seeing their beautiful, glowing faces put my hesitance of peace into total perspective. If I did not let up and agree to sign a peace treaty with Egypt then my grandsons would be picking up the pieces for my mistake by giving up their life to war.
I tried my best to hold back my tears and I glanced up at President Carter; it was as if he had read my mind. He was holding back tears as well and had a comforting smile gracing his face as I thanked him generously and shook his hand. He definitely had struck a soft spot in my heart but I was thankful for his thoughtful gesture. It was a short interaction between us and too soon was Carter saying goodbye. “Well I am glad you liked your present. I’ll be meeting you later with President Sadat in the conference hall to see you two off. Have a nice day and rest up!” he said. As he began to walk out the door I yelled, “Wait!” I had to act quickly on my newfound thoughts. These pictures made me realize just how important this meeting was with President Sadat. It was as if my world had been exposed to a new awakening. The faits of our countries rested in our hands. If we did not put our differences aside, who knows when the next chance at peace would be. Who knows what would happen to our prospering countries within the coming years and how many innocent lives would be lost from our toilsome disagreements. “I would like to meet with you and President Sadat one last time to modify the documents. There are some changes I would like to make,” I stammered and my mouth grew dry. President Carter seemed surprised but was thrilled with my change of heart. He nodded and we both preceded out the door knowing the significance of this turn of events.
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