16 April 2007

Mid-East Craziness

I listened with a sense of mounting disbelief this morning to the BBC on my way to the gym as they described unverified reports that Alan Johnston has been killed. He's a BBC reporter who has spent the last 3 years living and working in Gaza, trying to bring the story of the Palestinian people to the world. An overwhelming sadness for his family, his co-workers, and the world at large surrounded me.

Here's someone who is trying to bring some balance to the media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and for his trouble, he gets kidnapped. I'm reminded of the famous quote from Rodney King, during the LA riots of the nineties, when he said, "Can't we all just get along?"

What I don't know about the push and pull between Israel and Palestine could fill several volumes of an encyclopedia. But what I do know is that things like this, done by a small group of extremists, makes the road to peace an even more difficult path to tread.

Spots all over the world have been sources for conflict and bloody battles almost since the beginning of time. The Israeli-Palestinian thing is the same tired conflict over land and religion that is played out in Kashmir, the Balkans, and to a lesser extent, Iran and Iraq, every single day.

We need to move forward, beyond the whole "We were here FIRST!" rhetoric in order to solve these problems. Killing journalists isn't the answer.

Say whatever you like about President Clinton's infidelity and stupid behavior while he was in the Oval Office, but his commitment to mid-east peace was an amazing thing. President Idiot, on the other hand, seems content to allow things like this to continue to go on, much more worried about the supply of oil than the lives of the people who live there.

Remember how hopeful the picture of Clinton with Rabin and Arafat on the White House lawn was? Rabin was killed by an assassin, Arafat died during the current intifada. Hezbollah won recent Palestinian elections, causing western nations to cut off funding to Palestinian interests, because they won't support a terrorist organization. Where is the hope now? Who will be the person who stands up and says "NO MORE!" ?

I'm not the praying type. Hell, I'm not even the Christian type. So I won't ask you to pray for him, because I wouldn't do it myself. But I hope, with all my heart and soul, that these reports of Mr. Johnston's execution are false. There's a petition on the BBC's website calling for his release, please go and give it your virtual signature. Keep a good thought in your heart for his family today.

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