Sunday 21 August 2005

Ev'rybody's talking about revolution, evolution, masturbation, flagellation, regulation, integrations, mediations, United Nations, congratulations....

Rather than risk getting too wrapped up in my own week, I've decided to lift my head up and have a look around the world. It turns out that there are plenty of people having a worse week than me. To pluck one example out of the headlines, it's been an especially bad week for Israeli settlers in the Gaza Strip.

I'd guess that being forcibly evicted from your home by soldiers isn't going to be a happy day in your life. Hands up if you ever thought you would see Israeli troops storming synagogues - in this case to protestors making a stand against their eviction. Next week it's the turn of the West Bank, and I imagine we will see similar scenes.

So not a great week for Israeli settlers, but a potentially enormous week in the search for peace in the Middle East. I'm not an expert in this by any means, so I won't ramble on. Instead, if you'll forgive the lengthy quotation, I will leave you with someone else's words that seem apt:

It is untenable for Israeli citizens to live in terror. It is untenable for Palestinians to live in squalor and occupation....The Palestinian economy must be allowed to develop. As violence subsides, freedom of movement should be restored, permitting innocent Palestinians to resume work and normal life. Palestinian legislators and officials, humanitarian and international workers, must be allowed to go about the business of building a better future. And Israel should release frozen Palestinian revenues into honest, accountable hands.

....I can understand the deep anger and anguish of the Israeli people. You've lived too long with fear and funerals, having to avoid markets and public transportation, and forced to put armed guards in kindergarten classrooms. The Palestinian Authority has rejected your offer at hand, and trafficked with terrorists. You have a right to a normal life; you have a right to security; and I deeply believe that you need a reformed, responsible Palestinian partner to achieve that security.

I can understand the deep anger and despair of the Palestinian people. For decades you've been treated as pawns in the Middle East conflict. Your interests have been held hostage to a comprehensive peace agreement that never seems to come, as your lives get worse year by year. You deserve democracy and the rule of law. You deserve an open society and a thriving economy. You deserve a life of hope for your children.

....If liberty can blossom in the rocky soil of the West Bank and Gaza, it will inspire millions of men and women around the globe who are equally weary of poverty and oppression, equally entitled to the benefits of democratic government.

And so say all of us.

And who said these wise words? George W. Bush in 2002. Credit where credit is due, these words are at least a small part of the reason why we are watching the withdrawal on our TVs now. The settlers might not be thanking him at the moment, but it this helps bring stability to the region, then the rest of the world has good reason for some gratitude.

(but let's not go overboard, eh? He's still a brainless goon and one of the single biggest causes of the lack of stability in the rest of the world.... but it's a Sunday night, and I'm feeling generous)

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