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Vision of Hope
file under: vision of hopeMiddle East Peaceextremism 19 Apr 2011 7:40 PM
Extremism Knows No Bounds Posted by Nissim Dahan
 

            It seems, at times, that there are no limits to extremism. I guess that's why they call it "extremism."

 

            The recent murder of Vittorio Arrigoni, age 36, comes to mind, although there are numerous examples to be found in all the nooks and crannies of the Middle East. Vittorio was an Italian activist and journalist, who chose to live in Gaza since 2008, and who championed the rights of Palestinians for the last several years. He was abducted quite recently by a radical Islamic group inspired by al Qaeda, and was used as a bargaining chip to pressure Hamas, the ruling political faction in Gaza, to release some political prisoners, including a Sheikh whom they consider their leader.

 

            The group threatened to kill Vittorio if their demands were not met, and a short deadline of 30 hours was put in place. Perhaps the victim tried to convince his captors that he too was fighting for justice for Palestinians. But in the end, the group decided to mete out its own brand of justice. In an unfortunate turn of events, the group's demands were not met, and Vittorio was strangled to death, even before the deadline had elapsed.

 

            Up until several days ago, I would have thought that Hamas was pretty extreme, calling for such tidbits as the destruction of the State of Israel, and death to the Jews. But now, however, it seems that this Salafist group may be even more extreme than Hamas, murdering an advocate for the Palestinian cause, even as Hamas watched in disbelief, and was rendered powerless to stop it from happening. Is it possible that this extremist group, which has become a thorn in Hamas' side, could be a wake-up call to Hamas, that maybe there is a better way to move forward? Perhaps, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

 

            Such is the nature of extremism. There is no stopping it once it takes hold. One act of terror begets another, as the cold-hearted calculus of our cause takes us to a place where there is no mercy, where almost anything goes, and where almost any heartless act of violence is deemed justifiable in the name of a greater purpose.

 

            Aristotle taught us, a long time ago, that the truth is rarely to be found in the extremes. Rather, truth is usually to be found somewhere in the middle. In short, truth is not an extremist position. For example, if you were to ask Aristotle to define courage, he would probably say that it is somewhere in the middle between being foolhardy on the one hand, and being a coward on the other. It is somewhere in the middle, somewhere that Aristotle called The Golden Mean.

 

            As we search for new paths in the Middle East, paths that are more likely to take us to a better place, we should never lose sight of the fact that there are people out there who will tell us "No!" at every turn. These are people who are very committed to their cause, and for whom failure is not an option. Many of them have convinced themselves that God is on their side, and they have no qualms about killing in His name, even though it is precisely His creatures they are killing.

 

            We should keep the extremist agenda in mind as we venture forth to realize a Vision of Hope, a vision of Peace, Prosperity and Freedom. An opportunity exists, this time around, to make something happen along these lines. But the extremists will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to derail us. Therefore, we will have no choice but to commit ourselves as strongly to our cause as they are to theirs. We will embrace moderation as tightly as they embrace extremism. We will dare to see the world in shades of gray, as they see only black and white. We will accommodate ourselves to our sense of self-doubt, as they convince themselves of the certainly of their cause.

 

            To triumph over extremism, we will chart for ourselves a course that is likely to take us to a new Middle East, and we will not deviate from our journey, even as fear and intimidation are thrust upon us. We realize that much of what preceded us has led us astray, and we know too that there are those among us who would wish to confound our sense of right and wrong, but we will be true to ourselves as we venture forth to what promises to be a promised land.

 

 

Comments (22)Add Comment
BULLCRAP
written by GABE1, April 20, 2011
Nissim

This nonsense is a first in its content of utter sillyness even by your standards.

It is absolute RUBBISH as the British would say. I guess logic is out the window in your world view.

"....calling for such tidbits as the destruction of the State of Israel, and death to the Jews"

This statement really puts you on par with the Islamofascists and the extremists as you call them. You are skirting the line towards anti semitic leanings.

I guess I have not misjudged you at all. You are what I always suspected.
JUST
written by GABE1, April 21, 2011
....another ANTISEMNITE killed by his own kind. Spare me the escalation scenario between Hamas and his killers. One of the same. It is simply a matter of verbiage.

Just tell us that a terror facilitator was killed by terrorists that he supported. PERIOD, STOP.
Time to freshen up your literary skills, Gabe.
written by Nissim Dahan, April 21, 2011
"...calling for such tidbits as the destruction of the State of Israel, and death to the Jews."

Gabe, when someone titles a piece Extremism Knows No Bounds, and then procedes to show that extremism has a way of perpetuating and intensifying itself, then perhaps he might use a phrase like that quoted above as a form of literary understatement, as a way of emphasizing the enormity of their evil intentions, as a further way of illustrating the nature of extremism.

In other words, you play it down, to build it up.

But you, my friend, are not inclined to interpret of my words in that manner. You'd rather call me an anti-Semite, and be done with it. You don't agree with what I have to say, so you need an easy way to do away with me. And calling me an anti-Semite is an easy was for you to compartamentalize me, so that you no longer have to think about what it is I have to say.

Well, guess what Gabe, what would you call a person who believes what he wants to believe, who couldn't care less if what he believes is true, and who is so certain of his convictions, that he would negate the points of view of others, with whom he disagrees?

Would it be fair to call such a person an Extremist?

And why do you act this way? Because you love Israel and the Jewish people?

Well, Gabe, if right wing extremism was good for Israel, then we'd be in pretty good shape right now. There is, as you suggested previously, a move to the right in Israel. And yet, Israel is increasingly feeling itself isolated in the international community. Her diplomats around the world are complaining that the lack of effort on the peace front is huring us around the world. The previous ambassador to South Africa just quit in protest. And Ehud Barak, the defense minister for God's sake, is pressuring Netanyahu to take the initiative on peace. Why? Because they love Israel less than you do, Gabe?

Israel is a small country, a small country that is heavily dependent on the rest of the world for security, trade and legitimacy. Israel is not strong enough to withstand the pressure of the entire world. In order to survive as a free and prosperous state, Israel will have no choice but to find a way to gain a measure of credibility in the international community.

And today, that means being proactive when it comes to peace making, and not being dragged by your ears.

Peace was always important, but with the world's oil supply on the line, it is quickly becoming a strategic imperative. Israel must be seen as open to the possibility of peace, and taking the initiative in this regard, for her own sake.

Your extremism betrays a willingess to allow Israel to fall on her own sword. Or am I missing something?
JUSTIFYING
written by GABE1, April 22, 2011
In a typical Leftist manner you are justifying words that have come back to betray your outlook. I don't give a figs leaf about Barak or what he says. If he had the inside scoop we would have had peace when he was PM. So spare me his pronouncements or any others that belong to the Left. A bunch of wannabbees that have no balls to even venture into Ramalla or Gaza and ask the Balis to behave in a civilized manner.

It is precisely the appeasements that you propose that will make peace unattainable. But being who you are, it makes not one iota worth of difference. Poetic license is what counts. Do you really love your enemies so much that you will go to such great lengths to whitewash their crimes.

Do not flatter yourself, please. I heard it all in my youth form dyed in the wool Communist "Jewish" teachers. When it comes to excuses you are an amateur compared to them. I heard about "occupation" and "racism" and "oppression" in Israel before the 6 day war.

Defending your rights and patrimony is not falling on your sword : It is a Human right. You prefer burying your history and kicking sand on the graves of your ancestors that died for simply being Jewish and refusing to succomb to both Christianity and Islam.

You are a very poor excuse for a Jew, my friend.

SO PLEASE CUT THAT CRAP AS IT IS WEARING VERY THIN INDEED.

You do not want peace or Israels survival: You are looking for Jews and Israel's disappearance without much of a peep.
...
written by GABE1, April 22, 2011
Peace was always important, but with the world's oil supply on the line, it is quickly becoming a strategic imperative.

I hear an echo of a bygone era in these words. Was it not Chamberlain who gave the Germans the Sudetenland thus selling out Czechoslovakia and than proudly pronouncing "Peace in Our Time". I guess we all misunderstood his literary skill interpretation, as over 23 million people died because he did not fall on his sword.

I am just shocked at someone who claims to be educated and a man of the world, to be so either naive or simply ignorant (I refuse to believe that you are either).

You're Missing the Point
written by Nissim Dahan, April 22, 2011
"Defending your rights and patrimony is not falling on your sword: It is a Human right."

It is precisely because Israel must defend herself, that she should be seen as being proactive on peace. You don't seem to understand that.

An international effort is afoot to delegitimize the Jewish State. Everything she says and does is being used against her in the court of public opinion. And you, my friend, are a willing accomplice in that effort, even if that is the last thing you want to do.

By playing it hardball, as you advise, Israel is coming off as the oppressor and the occupier. The truth is not the ultimate arbiter in this scenario. We're talking about public opinion around the world.

In the past, when the free flow of oil was virtually guaranteed by the despotic regimes, the perceptions about Israel were not as important, and her friend could protect her, even against the tide of public opinion.

However, when the oil supply of the West is threatened, a new calculus is in the making. The West may easily conclude that the Israeli-Palestinian issue is not only a thorne in its side, but is threatening its ability to create alliances with the new regimes emerging in the Middle East.

At that point, Gabe, who do you think will be sacrificed. Israel, or the free flow of oil?

Once again, it is not the truth we're talking about. It is the idea that perception is reality. How people perceive things will influence their behavior, and that behavior will create a new reality on the gound.

On the other hand, you are absolutely right to say that Israel has a God given right to defend herself, including using her military might to do so.

So what does she do? She becomes more proactive on peace. She announces a sensible resolution of the conflict. She procedes to influence Arab regimes for the possibility of using a mutuality of self-interest to form a strategic/economic alliance between the Arab states, Israel and the U.S. for the purpose of protecting against Iran, and revitalizing the region with good paying jobs.

At that point, Israel has bought herself some measure of credibility, which will give her efforts at self-defense a good measure of legitimacy.

Peace would be great if it could be done. But even if it can't be done, it is important to appear as if that is your goal. It is indispensable to your efforts at self-defense, which you correctly point out as necessary for Israel's survival.

So in the final scheme of things, who between us is more concerned with Israel's survival?
THAT IS SUCH NONSENSE
written by GABE1, April 22, 2011
The proper response is precisely to do nothing. All of the concessions since Oslo produced the reverse effect as did the withdrawal from Gaza and Lebanon. Both were the height of stupidity as was Oslo itself. You have not taken all these into your calculations, my friend and is therefore coming up with false conclusions and calculations.

Even if Israel stood on its head and sang Kumbaya. would she gain more legitimacy and efforts at self defense, and I refuse to be sold for a barrel of oil.

The problem is that you refuse to read what I am pointing out to you. You are so focused on your love for our enemies that anything else just goes in one ear and promptly out the other without a chance to be digested by your brain. That is the Leftist type of brain that cannot see the logic but only the Kumbaya effects of the feel good ideas.

You do not exhibit any concerns for Israels survival.You just want Israel to disappear from the headlines in order to make you feel good. If Israel does not exist than you will not have to defend it and that is the stage that you are leaning towards.

Just look at your writings in a dispassionate fashion and you will see that you have a closer relationship with the antisemitic Left and its Arab enemies than with Israel or even Jews as a whole.
IL GIORNALE
written by GABE1, April 22, 2011
published in Il Giornale,

The cruelty of the public execution of a young man who had family and friends, as it was the case with Vittorio Arrigoni's killing, is always awful. And this is clear.

What isn’t clear to the European public is that it is patently evident that the killers are his old Islamic Jihadists friends from Gaza. But they could have been Afghanis, or Iraqis.

In 2002, Daniel Pearl was killed in Karachi with similar methods because he was a Jew; in 2004 the decapitation of the American Nick Berg in Iraq was filmed, the Jihadists said, «to give a clear message to the West»; the Italian Fabrizio Quattrocchi was executed because he was «an enemy of God, an enemy of Allah» and Vittorio Arrigoni, as his butchers say it in the video, in the words that scroll across the screen, because «he was spreading western immorality in Gaza» and because «Italy fights against Islamic countries».

It has been repeated again and again that Hamas, with whom Arrigoni was on friendly terms, has condemned the crime. But in actual fact it doesn’t matter if the assassins are members of Hamas or not. They have been, they will be, they are all controlled by Hamas. Even Al Qaida, which has a presence in Gaza, is seen by Hamas in a better or worse light, depending on the moment. But Hamas is always top dog in Gaza.

Hamas is responsible for the captivity of Gilad Shalit; it was responsible for the armed destruction of the UN recreational camp for children, which did not abide by Islamic dictates; it was responsible for arresting 150 women under the accusation of witchcraft and the execution of several of them; it is Hamas that has introduced by law death penalty, whipping, cutting off hands and crucifixion, according to Sharia. Hamas killed the 32-year old Christian book salesman Rami Khader Ayyad, guilty of selling Bibles. Not all those who carry out these operations, or those to whom Hamas gives orders to fire Qassam missiles against Israel, are members of the terrorist organization that rules Gaza; indeed at times theyt pretend to fight them.

Hamas is a movement, a party, a fundamentalist State. Its statute stipulates that it wants to destroy the Jewish State, to exterminate Jews and impose an Islamic caliphate on the entire world. Salafite fringes and those linked more to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, those influenced to a greater or lesser extent by Iran or Al Qaeda and based in the Gaza Strip, join up and leave Hamas by turns. The fact that Hamas has now disowned the killers of Arrigoni is not of the slightest importance. In any case, they were still employed by Hamas as members of the Al Qassam Brigades.

To understand the death of this Italian activist, one important fact must be grasped: his death was triggered by the spurious way he mixed his humanitarian ideals with the cause of fundamentalist Gaza, by the fact that he mixed his life with that of his potential enemies, that he thought about as his best friends. But fundamentalists do not have stable affinities. Only their interpretation of Quran counts. Hamas Gaza, where Arrigoni has been killed, is for us a land ruled by awful and distant laws.

Arrigoni loved the Palestinians, but he remained a total foreigner for them. It is for us unconceivable, even if you are a militant like Arrigoni, to live alongside those who fire missiles on civilians, wear belts packed with explosives and hand out sweets when an Israeli family is killed in Itamar, including a three months baby, a four years old child and another of nine.

This is a crucial issue: when you go to Gaza, or Afghanistan, you have to realise that our conception of life, is completely different from any Islamic political conception of life. You can die because you are Jewish, because you are Italian, or Christian, because you are an apostate, or a corrupt Westerner... the extremist mentality, make no bones about it, cancels out friends and allies. No matter how much you have worked against the «Zionist power» or that you have called Zionists «rats» (and Arrigoni did this), nothing is of any worth if you break their rule, a rule which will remain unclear until the knife blade comes.

Arrigoni was fan of political Islamism because he was an enemy of the Jews, but this did not save him from a cruel execution in front of the camera, just as the one of many others friends or enemies of Hamas or the Islamic Jihad, never mind.

So it is intellectually sad and even dangerous that a demonstration in front of the Italian Parliament blamed Israel and Italy for Arrigoni’s death; or that the ISM, the pro-Palestinian NGO Arrigoni belonged to, attributed «moral responsibility to the State of Israel». These reactions seem to be triggered only by ideological hatred.

IL GIORNALE-CONCLUSION
written by GABE1, April 22, 2011
e But what is more striking still, with sincerest respect for the figure of the President of Republic, was the statement of condolences which Giorgio Napolitano rightly delivered; instead of laying the blame on Islamic fundamentalism, he asked that «a negotiated solution be found to the conflict which sees bloodshed in the region».

With the same coherence, he could have invoked any good cause: the fight against world hunger, or child prostitution. Yet instead, Israel is being summoned to face some mysterious responsibility. But the fault is only of Islamic fundamentalism; what is the point of dragging the pained witness and victim of Hamas terrorism into thquestion?
MORE OF THAT WORLD "UNDERSTANDING"
written by GABE1, April 23, 2011
...that you so crave.

BERLIN – Inge Höger, a Left Party member of the Bundestag who was aboard the Mavi Marmara when it tried to break the blockade of Gaza last May, had reportedly attributed the recent murders by Palestinians of pro- Palestinian Israeli filmmaker Juliano Mer-Khamis and Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni to Israel’s government.
Fight, and fight hard, but fight with all your weapons.
written by Nissim Dahan, April 24, 2011
Gabe, let me say first, that I do appreciate your comments. You are one of the few who bothers to do so, even when you disagree with my point of view.

Now, let's get back to the point.

If you're saying that the Islamic extremists are total loonies, I couldn't agree more.

If you're saying that the Italian activist, Vittorio, tried to befriend them, and was killed as a result, once again, I couldn't agree more.

If you say that they are cruel and mean people, with no sense of appreciation for human life, I would agree as well.

If you say that they intend to bring evil to the world, yes, I would have to agree.

If you say that peace is not their agenda, and that they thrive on war and terror, yes, I would have to concur.

Where you and I differ, is when it comes to doing something about it.

You seem to suggest that, "...the proper response is to do nothing..."

That's where we part company. I believe that there is something that can be done.

On thing to do is to fight these people, as they fight us. We should do what we can to kill them, and to kill the vision that wish to impose on us. And sometimes, that means fighting them militarily, in self-defense.

However, there is more than one way to defeat them.

You can shoot them in the head, but the problem is that when you do that, more of them pop up, emboldened by the idea of martyrdom.

The more effective appraoch is to kill them in the minds of their people. You should find a way to marginalize them, to co-opt their strategy, and to portray them as out os step with the will of the people.

And the way to do that is to put an alternative on the table, a Vision of Hope, a job, a vision of peace, prosperity and freedom, and to give everyone who is still open to suggestion, a place at the table, a stake in his or her future.

This is not Kumbaya Gabe. This is about a strategy that is more likely to work.

The extremists are evil, but they are not stupid. There is meathod to their madness. You have no choice but to beat them at their own game if you are to turn this thing around.

If they are ideological about violen Jihad, you be ideological about common sense.

If they invest peanuts in charity, you invest some serious dollars in jobs.

If they sell a vision of martyrdom, or paradise, or virgins or what have you, you sell a vision of hope, a vision of peace, prosperity and freedom.

And if they fight you with terror, you fight them militarily in self-defense.

At every turn, you cut them off at the pass, and beat them at their own game.

In the final analysis, the ideological extremists will not be able to capure the public's imagination, once people begin to imagine a better life for themselves.

I can't guarantee that it will work. But I think it's worth a try. No?
REALLY????
written by GABE1, April 24, 2011
This is the biggest barrel of "butts" that you are trying to sell. Old recycled social engineering that was being paddled in the 1960 social engineering experiments as well as in the communist regimes. That has been debunked long ago but you are digging up that corpse and paddling it under a new guise. Let it stay buried, my friend, as it is the best that it stay that way.

The Saudis offered to help Egypt financially in the past few days, and guess what the Egyptians declined as the quid pro quo was to abandon the rapproachment with Iran. So much for your vaunted jobs and social help theory. You can bring a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.

The do nothing approach with the Balis is the proper course and there is no need to appease them or buy them as this will not change their murderous intentions towards Jews and Israelis. You use the biblical an eye for an eye and increase it 200 times. Make their extremism and terror painful, very painful. You also let them declare a State and than annex parts of it to Israel and push them towards Jordan with each terror act. Let them know that they are still Jordanian citizens and would be deported there if they do not act as human beings.

Israel should not be in a hurry to create a 23rd Arab state on land that is Jewish and it should not be in a hurry to create another terror entity.

As far as the shitty world is concerned, I do not give a flying leap what they think. The British, Germans, French. Spain and Russia killed more people around the Globe that you can imagine and all of a sudden they take on the mantle of humanists. What a crock of proverbial horse manure. I don't remember the world jumping in to save Jews or other people when they were being massacred and butchered.

NO, I am not prepared to give it a try. When the Arabs are ready, let them come and ask for a TRUE Peace and No, I will not give them jobs or support their Murderous religion in any way. Let them earn it.I AM NOT INTO SELF IMMOLATION or as NAIVE as you are.

THEY DO HAVE A GOOD LIFE COMPARED TO OTHER NATIONS AND STATES.
MORE MURDERS
written by GABE1, April 27, 2011
In Israel and Syria and Libya. Better jobs and more freedom to "kill" will bring the savages out of the 13th century.

WOW. LOL!!!!!!! smilies/cheesy.gif smilies/grin.gif smilies/cheesy.gif smilies/grin.gif
As one window is closed, another opens.
written by Nissim Dahan, April 27, 2011
Gabe, there is no question that this is a messy business. Call me crazy, but I still see opportunities.

For example, you say that Saudi offered to help Egypt financially, on condition that Egypt distances itself from Iran. And Egypt said no.

What does that tell us? Well, in the chaos that Egypt finds itself, it may choose Iran as a partner, especially if it senses that Iran will soon be calling the shots.

This creates a lot of pressure on Saudi to counter the threat from Iran, and from the man on the street.

Saudi has limited choices in this scenario. It can try to buy Egypt off, but as you suggest, Egypt may not buy in. However, if Saudi is approached by the West, and told that a strategic/economic alliance may be in the offing, wherevy Saudi will be protected from Iran, and job creation will be at the top of the agenda, to stave off instability, the Saudi may buy in, not because it necessarily wants to, but because there are not too many feasible alternatives on the table.

And what is the price? The price is recognition and peace with Israel, and the willingness to put some serious money on the table for job creation.

And yes, there is a lot of killing going on in Syria and Libya. It isn't a pretty sight, I grant you. But it may well be an opportunity. We may be able to offer a neutral parthway, a way of effectuating positive change, but in a moderate and more gradual manner.

You think it's crazy, I know. And I have to admit that you may be right. But I don't see the harm in floating the idea, and seeing if it could muster some measure of support, among the embatled regimes of the region.
DEFINITION
written by GABE1, April 28, 2011
One of the definitions of crazy is the inability to learn,in this case from the mistakes of the past. As I said,your ideas in general are benign, yet they give the enemy the idea of entitlement if only they commit more murder and mayhem.

Arab clans hate each other as much as they hate Israel and your "hope and jobs" pipe dream is akin to blowing smoke out of a nargila. OR AS THE CHINESE WOULD SAY "A PIPE DREAM"
A Pipe Dream?
written by Nissim Dahan, April 28, 2011
Some of what I have to say may well be a "pipe dream." But I don't think it's necessarily a pipe dream to say that people will do what they can to save their own necks. And the way things are playing out in the Middle East, the leaders are quickly realizing that their necks are on the line.

Now even the Syrian president is feeling the heat, as are most of the leaders in the region.

Under these circumstances, which haven't been around before, it may be necessarily to think out of the box, and to give these regimes a way out, but in a way that inspires in the people a sense of hope, and buys us time to effectuate positive change.

You are right to say that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expectiving a different result.

But here's the thing, Gabe, what I am suggesting has never really been tried in the Middle East, at least in the last several hundred years.

Where in the Middle East, other than Israel, do you see common sense touted as ideology, or a real effort to create jobs, or a sense of hope for the future, or progams designed to educate and to inspire hope, or a willingness to fight for what is just?

That's the point, Gabe, this has never been tried before, and I would argue that this is the best time to try it, not because things are rosy in the Middle East, but precisely because things are getting rougher by the minute, and some very powerful and wealthy people may be willing to give this a try because they come to conclusion that this may be their best way out of a very sticky and messy situation.

In short, we should cut while the knife is hot.
WRONG
written by GABE1, April 28, 2011
You are way of the mark with this remark. It has been tried and for close to 30 years Lebanon was a democracy and very stable for a Middle Eastern country. Beirut was the Financial Capital of the Arabs and it was considered the Paris of the Middle East. So in your thinking one of the considerations must be "WHAT HAPPENED" to Lebanon to retreat as far as it had.

I submit that what happened there is what is happening in the rest of the Arab world. EXTREMISM.RELIGIOUS MUSLIM EXTREMISM. Will HOPE and JOBS help. Based on the Lebanon experience. NOT A CHANCE IN HADES.

The knife is VERY COLD if not FRIGID,

You must start with societal changes before going your route and we are very far away from it yet.
What Happened to Lebanon?
written by Nissim Dahan, April 28, 2011
You make a good point.

Lebanon would seem to suggest that my idea can't work. And perhaps, I would have to admit, that my idea can't work. But I still think it's worth a try. I'll explain.

First of all, the fact that Lebanon was able to prosper financially, as you say, the financial capital of the Arab world, proves that Arabs have it within them to be successful in business. That's an important point. You're not dealing here with people who have no inclination toward business. You're dealing with people, many of whom have a business sense running in their blood.

Now, why did Lebanon fall? Exactly as you say, because Extremists had a different plan for her, and were in a position to use intimidation and ruthlessness to take the place over. And the civilized Lebanese came to conclusion that it was worth bringing their long standing civil war to an end, even at the expense of lost freedoms.

So why do I believe that Selling a Vision of Hope is still worth a try?

Well, perhaps because this time around there is so much at stake that all sorts of new pressures can be brought to bear to make this thing go in the right direction.

Today, all the Arab regimes are facing existential theats from without, Iran, and from within, the man on the street. Therefore, unlike the Lebanon situation, they will look for a solution that solves all their problems, and Selling a Vision of Hope is that kind of solution. It takes all the pieces of a possible solution to all their problems, packages them in just the right way, and allows them to sell it to the man on the street.

In addition, the threat from Iran, and the threat to the world's oil, will encourage the West, and the entire world for that matter, even China and India, to support this initiative.

So bottom line, you are right that Lebanon is a warning for what may follow. However, I would counter that because the entire Middle East is on the line, including the threat from Iran, and the threat to the oil, that more resources and more pressure will be brought to bear, and what couldn't work before, may work now.

Gabe, it is precisley because radical extremism is such a threat, that we need a broad and powerful vision to counter it. This vision, I believe, is on that level.
ANALOGY
written by GABE1, April 29, 2011
If one has a tumor, the only solution is to excise it. Radical extremism is no different and you do not counter it, appease it or embrace it. You kill it. Your vision has not and cannot save a single life that these radical sub human murdering extremists are so intent on taking. ON ANY LEVEL.
We can only do what we can do, and not more.
written by Nissim Dahan, April 29, 2011
It's a good analogy, but you can stand on your head, and you will not be able to "excise" the tumor of radical extremism.

It is not unlike violent crime. You can fight against it, but you can't totally eliminate it.

If people are hellbent on planting a bomb, or killing in the name of who knows what, you are not going to stop that, no matter what you do.

However, you can fight more effectively against it.

I am not saying we should appease or embrace extremism. I am saying we should fight against it with everything we've got.

Our military should be used in this regard to the maximum extent possible. However, we should supplement that effort with an all out campaign to de-legitimize the extremists in the minds of their own people. Just as the extremists are conducting a PR campaign against us, so too should we counter that with an equally effective PR campaign against them.

This is a war for hearts and minds, and you can't win that simply by fighting on the ground. You will win it by inspiring the man on the street with a Vision of Hope, and delivering on that promise with good paying jobs.

Once the extremists are effectively portrayed as holding the people from a better life, then they will be out of step with the will of the people, and they will be portrayed as pariahs walking in the midst, and hiding in the shadows.

That's what we have to do, Gabe. Not because we want to appease terror, but because we want to defeat it. And to defeat it, you have no choice but to sell the people who still remain open to suggestion, on a Vision of Hope.
THE WAR
written by GABE1, April 30, 2011
...on Drugs and Crime has been lost in the Western world because of a lack of will. In communist and tyrannical regimes that is a minor problem because the consequences are so harsh. So your example does not hold water, its a mirage.

EXTREMISTS CANNOT BE REFORMED and that vaunted Arab street does not want to fight their extremists and in fact lionizes them. Their hope is the defeat of the Infidel and Sharia law. Even in affluent USA, Canada, France and the UK they are pushing for it.

You are misreading the Muslims and therefore your solutions are skewed entirely.
...
written by yushumei, June 17, 2011
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