Monday, August 5, 2013

There are no Mandelas in the Middle East

I have a lot of smart friends who have many different diverse views on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Some of them are pro-Palestinian and others are pro-Israeli. They often try draw me into these discussions and force me to pick a side.

I absolutely and completely reject either supporting Hamas or the Israeli government. It is a fools choice. Neither of those governments want peace.

Both governments are pretty conservative right wing political parties that thrive on fear, and the only way those type of political parties can retain political control is by scaring their respective populations into supporting their violent and discriminatory policies. If peace is formed both political parties will lose their support base to more moderate and progressive political parties.

Both sides are to blame. Hamas does not want peace with the Israeli`s and intentionally targets civilians in terrorist attacks. Israel go full retard with their collective punishments and behave like dodgy land squatters. None of them embrace diversity. Both push nationalist theocratic agendas.

There are no saints in the Middle East.

This does not mean I reject the people of Palestine or the people of Israel. My heart bleeds for them. I want them to have the same freedoms and protections that I have in my home country of South Africa. I wish they could learn from the lessons Mandela taught us. The path to peace and prosperity is not built with a gun. It is built on forgiveness and reconciliation.

I am a member a liberal political party called the Democratic Alliance here in South Africa. Our party is built on four pillars which we fondly give the acronym, "R2D2". I would recommend those four foundational pillars to the people of Israel and Palestine to build your future governments on.

Reconciliation - Get over your hatred. Accept that Jews and Muslims are going to live in that part of the world for a long time still. You need to learn to forgive each other. It is also important that you learn to stop dehumanizing each other. Embrace yours and their humanity.

Redress - Bad things have been done. People have unfairly lost family, land and possessions. On both sides. Work out a system to look after those that have lost everything. Return back to the 1967 borders and organize fair land swaps and compensations for land.

Delivery - Make governments that work for the people by separating religious institutions from government institutions. Drop the theocracies.  Focus on building a transparent and accountable government that focuses on service delivery.

Diversity - One of the stronger pillars. Diversity is good. The more ideas, the more cultures and the more peoples you have in your society. The healthier your society will become over the long term. You need to learn to embrace the positives in each others cultures and you need to learn tolerate the negatives. We all have something to learn from each other.

The only way your civilization will last long term and achieve awesome levels of stability is if you build an ALL inclusive multiparty democracy with a strong secular constitution.

Anyone who suggests otherwise is probably part of the problem.