The early part of the 1990's was a tumultuous time for the peoples of so many countries around the globe, who were dreaming of a change in their affairs and a liberation from constrains forced upon them by previous leaders and certain historic events.
Just in my neighbourhood at the time (the Balkans), the former Yugoslavia was violently torn apart, Greece and Turkey almost declared war on each other over an uninhabited isle and one by one the former Soviet satellites were getting rid of their dictators (peacefully or not).
The Wall fell!
In trying to make sense of all this, at a time when the internet was not at your fingertips, the following were the sources of information I had at my disposal:
- the Economist, which I was reading more for practicing the English language than understanding its world view,
- the Greek TV channels & newspapers, mostly polarized either to the right or the left, and
- political and foreign affairs theory books taken out from the libraries of the British Council and the Greek-American Union in Athens.
Two books that I took out from the Greek-American Union library were looking to the future and became the basis eventually of almost all US foreign policy matters, thanks to the hawks in Washington and George W. Bush's administration. 'The End of History and the Last Man' by Francis Fukuyama and 'The Clash of Civilizations (Remaking of World Order)' by Samuel P. Huntington.
Francis Fukuyama saw history as an evolutionary process that reached its end by stating that liberal democracy will become the only form of government for all States and that this form of government will be the last form of government. The spread of democracy onto other States around the world as is preferred in the West started to become central in foreign affairs think-tanks all around the US.
Samuel P. Huntington took Fukuyama's position that the age of ideology had ended (democracy had won the argument) and offered his thesis on where conflict is tantamount to be sprung from. He drew the lines of religion and culture and concluded that the biggest threat was 'Islamic Resurgence' and its convergence with China against the common enemy - the West!
So, here we are, almost 20 years later having seen events happen in front of our eyes, such as 9/11, the Iraq & Afghanistan wars, the bombings in London, Madrid & Bali, the nuclear threat of Iran & North Korea, the conflict between India & Pakistan to name just a few... and amongst all these events the continuous failure of navigating Israel & Palestine on the road to peace.
The Palestinian people are tired of being used as cannon fodder for the survival of both extremist views, on their land and across their border with Israel, but have been forced to either behave as traitors to their own cause of self-determination or side with the extremists on their side (Hamas & Hezbollah). All they want is a roof over their heads, food on the table, clean water, sustained electricity and the end of living in constant fear of their lives. Human dignity and pride in their accomplishments as free people is all that every human being desires; but when and how will that happen for the Palestinians?
These things have been discussed and agreed before by both sides together with the mediation of either the UN or the US, but every single time a step is made in the right direction the extremists come forth and ruin it. This happens every time because as the moderates are paving the road to peace and attempt to put the extremists out of the picture, the extremists on both sides realise that they need each other to survive in their positions of power and with just one rocket or one building being built illegally they manage to sabotage the whole thing and sent both peoples back to the starting point. An eye for an eye then keeps them apart again for a long time!
The US, for its own benefit, should step in to genuinely broker a peace process between the two and make them stick through it until a self-determined democratic Palestine is established abiding by international laws and treaties. Why should the US do this? Because it would have proven its sincerity in promoting peace and change in the world (promoting democratic ideas also if you wish) to the point were the extremists in other parts of the same region will have no grounds to cry 'Death to America' and become marginalized and unimportant in their own countries.
With the help of America (and Israel) the Palestinian people will be able to show the way to the other nations around the region and promote human rights and democratic ideas in the Arab world. They don't have to subscribe to each and every one of the characteristics of the Western way of life, but subjects close to every human being on the planet such as human rights are, should become a matter of debate in all these countries.
Imagine of the potential, Palestine would allow as an example to follow, for the people across all the dictatorships in the area, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Do not forget that most of the terrorists that operated during 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia and professed as much hatred towards the US as they did towards their own government. American dollars for oil is what keeping these people in their places of dictatorial power.
I understand that when speaking of governments and people in power their prevailing aim is to maintain the status quo, but I firmly believe that the ordinary people of the world are ready for these changes and that they have already started voicing their opinions.
Here I am joining them with my voice!