Today I visited my hometown to meet an old friend. On my way back out of the town, I stopped by the cemetery to pay my respects to my grandparents. Since the cemetery was empty, I drove my black SUV silently through the empty alley straight to the plot where my grandparents lay. I spent a few minutes in silence, remembering my childhood and how lucky I was to have such nice grandparents, and then headed back to the car. As I pulled out my keys, I caught sight of the grave of a well-known mobster, once head of the mafia, known as “The Emperor.” I knew this person, so I stared at his grave for a moment. I quickly realized I was not alone. Despite the fact that The Emperor died of a fatal sniper shot 23 years ago, he still had bodyguards guarding his grave ever since. The guard came closer and whispered, “Was he a friend of yours?” My luxury car made him think I was a mafia guy. Without turning, I replied, “He taught me one of the most important lessons in my life.” Then I got into my car and drove away.

That lesson came when I was eleven. On a cold winter evening, the school bell announced the end of our last lesson, and I walked home accompanied by my two best friends. We were walking on a narrow pedestrian bridge, when we saw a crowd of kids from the sports school at the opposite side of the river walking towards the bridge. We were almost on the other side when one of them, a few years older than me, collided deliberately with me and started a fight. I was very thin and short, the smallest in my class; a funny contrast from my best friend - he was a basketball player double my weight. The fight was very unequal: a dozen older guys from the sports school, all wrestling champions in their age category, against one 60 lb kid. I was knocked to the ground and kicked several times, then quickly abandoned once they realized there was no challenge. When they left, I jumped up, dusted off my clothes, and looked for my friends. To my surprise, I saw them sitting on a nearby bench, patiently waiting for me. I hid my surprise and did not ask any questions. We resumed our walk home as if nothing had happened, while resentment bubbled up inside me - resentment at the injustice of the situation, the unwarranted attack, the inaction of my friends. They chatted about something banal, but I did not contribute a word to the conversation.

I arrived home still angry. I wanted to report the accident to the principal of the sports school, but I didn’t know this kid’s name, his age, or anything about him - other than how he looked. Since I was good in drawing, my initial solution was to create a portrait of him and report it to his principal. I spent an hour drawing it, but by the time I’d finished, I changed my mind. I did not report him, but promised myself to get fit enough and teach him a lesson in return. The portrait earned a spotlight on my wall instead, motivating me to get stronger. It was the best everyday reminder, so I was never lazy about sports, and this accident guided my entire life for a decade: what sports to practice, what army profession (two year army duty was mandatory at that time) to choose and what life path to take afterwards.

I had learned on that walk home that this world is not a fair place and that we should always be physically, mentally, and even financially as strong as possible in order to combat that unfairness. We should not close our eyes to any injustice that happens around us. We are on this world with the purpose to make it a better place before we leave it.