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Selling a Vision of Hope: A Refreshing Alternative to Armageddon

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Selling a Vision of Hope 101: An Introduction E-mail
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Written by Nissim Dahan   

What a wondrous world we live in. We look all around us and there is so much beauty to behold. And yet, there are grave problems as well, problems which are beginning to threaten our very existence on this good earth. What are the threats we face in our time? Granted, we may be generalizing somewhat, but it seems that the threats we face fall into three general categories: the threats posed by ideological Extremism, the threats to our Environment, and the threats to our Economy. We can refer to these types of threats-Extremism, the Environment, and the Economy-as the 3-E's, for short.


Even to the cursory observer, it quickly becomes evident that the 3-E's are inter-related and inter-connected. They are a package deal of sorts. They all feed upon one another, and into one another, in countless ways. Ideological extremism, for example, as we see with groups like Al Qaeda, can hinder environmental cooperation, and can derail any attempt to help developing nations to join the global economy. Similarly, environmental degradation can help to breed extremist thinking, and can threaten economic prosperity. And in a similar vein, economic deprivation can become fertile ground for fomenting extremism, and can foster further degradation of the environment.


Since the main threats we face are so related to one another, it makes sense that we can't really solve one without solving all three, and it also makes sense that a solution may be possible which solves all three in one shot. We call that solution Selling a Vision of Hope, which has five parts to it, like the five fingers of your hand. In a very real sense, we could say that the answer to world peace, and to our survival as a species, lies in the palm of our hand:


The thumb is for Ideology: We will use a new ideological framework, what we call An Ideology of Common Sense, to speak to one another with common sense and with a sense of personal dignity. Common Sense-the collective wisdom born of shared experience-has kept us going as a species in the past, and will keep us going in the future. If globalization is already making the world smaller technologically and economically, doesn't it make sense for us to become "smaller" ideologically as well? Instead of believing what we want to believe, isn't it time to start believing in what makes sense? In a more perfect world, universal principles of common sense, and yes they do in fact exist, will inspire our thinking and inform our speech. In our fractured world, common sense is the common denominator.


The index finger is for Investment: We will invest in one another under the banner, "We stand ready to invest in you, if you are ready to invest in yourselves." We will invest in projects which create jobs, jobs which are geared toward environmental protection. Such good paying jobs, in places like the West Bank, could help in countless ways: to promote environmental protection by producing green technology products, to neutralize extremist thinking, to bridge the ideological divide, to open up new markets for goods and services, to generate new profits, to bridge the gap between rich and poor, to convert oil profits into green profits, to help diversify strictly oil economies, to energize economic growth both here and abroad, to restore Arab pride, and to condition people for the possibility of peace, and so forth, and so on. In effect, in these troubled times of economic upheaval, we must build new engines for economic growth; we can boost our own economy by venturing forth into new economic frontiers such as green technology, and by opening up new markets for our goods and services in places like Africa and the Middle East, thus creating good paying jobs both here and abroad. In the final analysis, by investing in others, we will be investing in oursleves.


The middle finger is for Hope: We will use An Ideology of Common Sense along with some well placed Investment Dollars to sell people on a Vision of Hope-a Vision of Peace, Prosperity, and Freedom-on the Arab street, in the Muslim world, and in the world as a whole. Albert Einstein came up with E=mc2. Thankfully, the formula for world peace is a lot simpler: Ideology plus Investment equals Hope, and with hope, all things are possible, even the impossible dream of peace.


The ring finger is for Public Diplomacy: As we begin to Sell a Vision of Hope, it becomes incumbent on us to sustain the vision by launching a series of Public Diplomacy Programs which are specifically designed to prop the vision up, and to carry it forward, such as: a Media Campaign, a program to Empower Women, a Cultural Exchange, a Student Exchange, an expanded version of the Peace Corps, and a series of International Conferences on the Environment, Economy, Religion, and Education. Let's take, for example, the program to Empower Women by investing in female entrepreneurs and promoting women's rights. Who are women? They are the givers of life, and the caretakers of life, and as such, are uniquely qualified to reconstitute their societies consistent with a Vision of Hope.


The pinky is for the willingness to Fight: If we already have to fight against the forces of ideological extremism, and we do, then we will fight, and fight hard, but we will also position the fight within a Vision of Hope. We will elevate the fight on the ground to a higher moral plain by giving the fight a moral clarity of purpose. People will fight harder once they know what they're fighting for. We're not fighting, for example, a "war against terror." We're fighting a war to realize a Vision of Hope. There's a big difference, a difference that could make all the difference in the world. We're not fighting simply to "protect the environment." We're fighting, quite literally, for our lives.


Selling a Vision of Hope will give us the conceptual framework we need to put together all the pieces of a possible solution to our most intractable problems. A solution which combines Extremism, the Environment, and the Economy, as a package, is likely to work because it is complete and all-encompassing. A solution for one of the three issues will inspire and underpin a solution for the other two. We will not be working in a vacuum, or in isolation. We will bring to the fore all that is needed to solve all of our problems, or at least the ones that pose the greatest challenges to our survival, and to our wellbeing.


So how does this pipe dream even begin to make a difference? We can begin with a single, solitary project, a project which resonates with hope, and which says to the world that a Vision of Hope could be made real if people simply choose to make it so. We can build a factory, preferably in the West Bank, in one of the industrial zones being developed there. The factory will be run by Palestinian and Israeli entrepreneurs, and will hire and train Palestinian workers to produce a state of the art green energy product, which is technologically significant in some innovative way. Saudi financing would be the icing on the cake, and would send the message to the entire world that oil profits are being used to create green profits, that good paying jobs are being created to curb the hold of extremist thinking, and that environmental protection is being moved to the front burner of our political and economic considerations.


Such a project, if successful, could attract worldwide attention, and could generate some serious investment dollars to fund more such projects, all around the world, for more such jobs, for more protection of the environment, for more economic growth, and for more neutralizing of extremism. Business leaders, and government officials alike, could be swayed by the allure of good publicity, good PR, and common sense, to finance and promote such projects throughout the developing world. A simple project of this sort could well become the impetus for a movement for change.


So how do we begin to make the dream come true? We start with a vision, a big Vision of Hope. We give that vision some substance on the ground. And soon enough, the reality on the ground will grow to fill up the space created by the vision. Such is the dynamic of change in the world, and such is the prescription for change in the Middle East.


We find our nation's fabric somewhat tattered and frayed at the edges. It is time to pick up the pieces and weave them together in a new pattern, one that is more reminiscent of our founding principles and highest ideals. We will use the dire circumstances of our time to remake ourselves in a new light, a light that will shine as a beacon of hope, for all to see and for all to follow.


So welcome to our website. Let us know what you think. We value your comments. What you have to say is probably more important than what we have to say. We already know what we have to say, but you bring something new to the table. And if you know of someone who could help us to make something happen along these lines, perhaps an actual project on the ground, then by all means, please let us know. We thank you all for your kind consideration.

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