What you did here was really amazing--
You built the first electronic bridge where 'enemies'-- the citizens of warring nations, could talk directly and personally to each other, day and night
In so doing, you created something that had never existed before-- a place where the common people on the opposite sides of a world at war could converse across the great gaping divides of religion, culture and politics.
Across the lines of intense hatred and violence, across the agonizing and often frightening clash of civilizations. Across oceans of fear and mistrust.
The talk was not always pretty or easy or pleasant-- but nevertheless, IH was a new kind of conversation, one that had never occured before--
Not ever in history, in any of mans' previous countless wars, back into the mists of our most ancient past, had a conversation like this ever occured during wartime.
It was the first of it's kind-- and the whole world responded here.
Nearly one million hits from every corner of the globe are bare testimony to the power of the space that you created-- between warring peoples and feuding factions that spanned the entire planet.
You were, amongst the chaos, and often intense and occasionally frightening exchanges here-- frequently funny, sometimes gruff and caustic, prone to telling people off-- but underneath of it all you were always amazingly patient.
Considering the open death threats against you (posted numerous times on these boards) the often withering insults and the constant attempts to hack this site into oblivion, people who complained about your occasional cantankerousness had no idea how patient you really were.
You were also tough and wiley and you boldly and courageously helped put Al Quaedas main website out of business while authorities were still fumbling around right after 911.
From there you continued to track terrorist communications across the Internet for years afterwards, and assembled a team of dedicated volunteers who supported your efforts-- but you always made it clear to every one that your greatest dream was one of a deeper understanding, and possibly even someday, a greater peace.
IH was indeed an amazing idea that you conceived and made real-- it was a mixture of genius and inspiration and raw courage.
And likely every future human conflict will now have it's own IH-- this is a gift that you, Jon, have given to our children.
Perhaps it is too soon to know if such forums can really make any kind of difference, perhaps it will take a very long time and many more wars for electronic bridges like these to have an impact on a suffering humanity.
But you built the first electronic bridge between warring nations anyway...
And I suspect that your inspiration and the risks that you took and the new venue that you created will have an impact.
Jon, the word 'hero' applies to very few people.
It most certainly applies to you.
Sleep in peace my brother. Take your well deserved rest, my friend.