Mideast: Permanent Peace Is Possible
Three Mega Religions: Major Confusion, Big Emotional Entanglements
I am not Muslim, I am not Jewish, I am not Christian. Thank God. If you truly believe in God - does not matter if that is a God as described by one particular religion - would you die for God? Countries have gone to war over smaller things like real estate: land. But God? That is a big one. The major passion of being a Muslim, a "believer," as Bin Laden might say, the major passion of being a Jew, even a secular, cultural Jew, the Christian self-righteousness, all come into play. Christianity is a great religion, but it only makes sense within the framework of religious diversity. It is not a superior religion. It is not the ultimate religion all humanity will end up with. It is not Da Bomb. It is just one among many religions. It is a great religion, but then so is Islam. Buddhism is a great religion: I am a Buddhist. Hinduism is a great religion: I was born a Hindu, I grew up a Hindu.
All these religions have long memories. 1000 years was but yesterday. There are numerous wounds on all sides, all very much alive in the collective memory. No wonder Jerusalem is combustile. Keep a lid on the matchsticks.
Love And Coexistence: Big Difference
Peace is or is not about love. Love might or might not happen. Love is vague. In seeking peace you are seeking coexistence. New York City is the role model for visions of grand peace. People from every little town on earth, not every country, not every city, but every little town on earth live in NYC. It is a wonder there is no permanent civil war, no raging bloody battle in this city. Because there is coexistence. A common complaint is New Yorkers are not very nice. But they are at peace. There is crime in the city. But the city is at peace. There is no civil war.
Past And Future: Big Difference
The past is unfathomable. There are too many grievances on all sides. Who did what to whom when where? The lists are endless. I am not suggesting people should forget the past, or not talk about it. That's what blogs are for. Talk as much as you want. Put it all out there. Speak up. Air it all. Vent. The past is not event past. Talk.
But peace talks have to be about the future. You start with the end point, you start with the final map, and then you seek paths to that point from where you stand.
The final map has two parts. One, there are two states, Israel and Palestine. Two, all Arab countries have been turned into democracies. Jerusalem is probably an international city like the Vatican. Vatican is not Italy. Not all Palestinian refugees return back to Israel. Some do, but some end up in Arizona, and Australia, and Bahrain, and Toronto, and Brussels, London, perhaps. On the knottiest issues, creativity will have to make attempts where bull headed steadfastness has so far not delivered.
My Gripe With Israel
It is like when you come across some Jews in New York whose idea of sounding white is to sound more racist than the racist whites, or at least as imagined. The Germans abused the Jews, but that does not mean the Jews get to abuse the Palestinians.
My Gripe With Arabs
When you don't have democracy, the top 10,000 people in the country keep all the billions, and they blame and incite the masses to blame Israel and America for everything, all the povety, the social ills, all logjams in international politics, global warming, your grandpa's wrinkles, everything. You need to have periodic elections so you know who to blame: the person in office who you boot out next time around. The massive sexism in the Arab world is a direct result of a lack of democracy. The 10,000 Al Qaeda guys are so sexist, they don't even have sex.
But democracy will not come from the current crop of leadership, and it should not have to come from America: Bush killed a million and a half Iraqis. Democracy should have come because a million and half Iraqis marched the streets, and shut the country down for three weeks. Democracy has to come the grassroots way, the mass movement way, country after Arab country.
White Guy Presidents And Barack
Clinton dabbled in Mideast peace towards the fag end of his presidency. Bush dabbled in Mideast peace towards the fag end of his presidency. Those were not serious attempts. Not Barack. The first foreign leader he called up as president was Abbas. His first TV interview sit down was with an Arab network. This guy means business, but he can't do it alone. The Arabs are going to have to play ball. The Israelis are going to have to start making sense.
Permanent peace in the Mideast is possible within Barack's eight years. The War On Terror has a conclusion. Most of it is in political and diplomatic work to do with Mideast peace. People power delivered Barack a presidency. People power in the Arab world is the open secret also in the Arab world.
And if permanent peace is not achieved during these eight years, we are in for a long, long inning.