“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” Martin Luther King Jr.
Blood, sorrows, tears, madness and stupidity: that sums it all up on the case of the Middle East. If you seek a place where human life means nothing and where resources, power play and manly egoism trumps reasoning then the place to look at is the Middle East. A region that occupies a pride of place in human history and genealogy by all account (perhaps only after Africa), the Middle East also sits atop the most valuable swath of real estate in the world. But its occupancy by brothers that have sworn to hate and have a callous history of belligerence and uncouth talks have managed to turn this would-be paradise to a blood sucking soil aggravated of course by western interference and desire of the Arian race to obtain resources at all cost. What better way to get your resources for cheap than sow discord among brothers? I mean, US sell weapons to Israel and buy Arab oil on the cheap- what a winning strategy!
The genesis of the crisis is injustice. First and foremost, the UN injustice of 1949 in giving Israel a state in Palestine while denying the Palestinians the same measure of humanity. I said the foregoing at the risk of being called Anti-Semitic (forgetting of course that the Palestinians are Semites too): but who cares? Of course, when you add this to the racist posture of the Arabs in conspiring to deny Israel a simple existence in a small portion of the prized Middle Eastern land mixed with hate, you can easily see why this is getting us to no where. Since the entry of the current United States Administration (Neo Cons), the conflagration of the current crisis is no coincidence. Mix disinterest with apparent double standard, you get the current madness that have thrown the world into another cycle of elevated madness. Of course, while George Bush will go through the trouble of installing democracy in Iraq by force and demanding the same of their Persian cousins in Iran, King George II will reject a democratically elected government in Palestine. If this is not double standard, I am at loss at what is. It is my opinion that deliberate measures including denial of funding that have sought to cause uprising in the Palestinian territories have done nothing but concretize the image of US as an enemy of the Arab people and the entire Islamic world. Such are the policies of a Republican administration gone awry, one that have done worse for American image than any in the past few years.
In any case the current crisis in Lebanon was admittedly a direct consequence of acts of inhumanity being meted to Palestinian people and then exacerbated by their untoward action of seizing an Israeli Corporal. But when you add the insanity of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, Syria and Iran you will get the madness that can only be equaled by the school yard food fights that soon degenerates to total anarchy. But in all of these matters, Lebanon is caught in the middle. On one hand, we can blame Lebanon for not controlling Hezbollah, but when you envision a country that is evenly divided between Christians and Muslims by years of civil war, with no functional armed forces or intelligence agencies which until recently had her government tele-guided from Damascus you will obtain an image of one caught between the devil and deep blue sea. On the other, you have Damascus, a country under a Baath style dictatorship looking to destroy their “Zionist” foes at all fronts, and yet using these sort of crisis to deflect attention from their own obvious failure to democratize their respective nations. In all of these you obtain the thesis, that there is enough blame to go around. The logical ways to resolve the current crisis is to either bomb Syria or Iran (but not undermine the moderate Lebanese government) or at the minimum empower the Lebanese government.
Israeli response is a direct consequence of US unilateral action in Iraq – the bombing of Lebanon reminds one of US tactics of attacking the weakest bully in the school yard (read, Iraq) to scare off the stronger ones (read, Iraq and North Korea); the Israelis show some measure of arrogance and shortsightedness when they destroy Lebanese infrastructure, children, and lives. It was not only heavy handed but counter productive when it un-sits the pro-western government. It looks by all intention and purposes the attack was aimed at destabilizing the government and causing a return to sectarian violence that led to the Lebanese civil war that this fragile, and multi-religious and very tolerant nation is trying to keep. For informational purpose, Lebanon is a multi-religious nation like Nigeria with a fragile peace between both parties preserved by various mannerisms one of which involves avoiding open disagreement between the Christian and Islamic arm of the nation. But Israel wants this disagreement much like US have been stoking the embers of discord in Palestine by denying Hamas of funds to pay civil servants. Whose beat is Israel marching to? Who wants a civil war between kit and kin? Who benefits when brothers are slaughtering themselves? Your guess is as good as mine.
The solution to the Middle East problem I believe is not having any foreign mediator at all. Let both parties (Israel and Palestine) find their way out of the quagmire. As drastic as this may sound, we must remember that desperate problems require drastic solutions. The Arab intervention on the Palestine side and the western intervention on Israeli side have been counter productive and hypocritical. US cannot be regarded as a just and even handed mediator, as it is clear through a series of her veto designed to protect Israel against UN criticism that she has lost a moral ground for that; even while she was promoting sanctions against North Korea. This also highlights the failure of the United Nations, an organization I am so convinced have outlived its usefulness: highly undemocratic and useless to say the least. If we have UN why do we have all these nation blocs negotiating with Iran? Why six party talks with North Korea? Why coalition of the willing attacking Iraq? Why is the so called Mediation Party (EU, US, Russia) the only ones involved in the Middle East mediation? If EU, Russia, Japan, China, and United States are all world peace needs, then what is the use of the UN? Nigeria should keep her dues for God sakes! Israelis and Palestinians are cousins and it is what unites them rather than what divides them that holds the solutions to their problems. This may mean the isolation of radical elements among both groups, but ultimately it will require a renewal of leadership as the present crop of leadership on both sides comes across as grossly irresponsible, arrogant and lacking in appetite for peace. Peace is a hard choice in this belligerent region, and only brave leaders like Rabin or Sadat can make this hard choice.
Many have wondered loudly why Nigerians albeit Africans are concerned about Middle Eastern crisis; I have treated such criticism with levity because it stems out of an ignorance of the dynamics of international relations. More often than not, crises in the Middle East push Africa off the agenda. The more wars that goes on in the oil rich region, which happens to be more strategically important to world interest than Africa, the less attention Africa gets. The resolution of the Middle East crisis is in the best interest of Africa. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere – we live in a global village. Certainly, this crisis portends a danger and shows that the root of world problems are the egos of men: may be the world will be a better place if from Tel Aviv to DC, London to Abuja and Beirut to Beijing women can preside over our affairs, since men have failed woefully to show any modicum of common sense in preserving lives and securing properties. Or may be I am just being too optimistic since Thatcher pursued the Falklands wa
r and Golda Meir the Yom Kippur war. All said, what cannot be achieved by warfare or terror can definitely be achieved by negotiation.