Is Peace Possible in the Middle East, Part Four of Four –
In a recent blog interview, former U.S. diplomat Aaron David Miller quoted Larry Summers saying, “…in the history of the world, nobody ever washed a rental car: We care only about what we own.” Miller went on to say, “Arabs and Israelis, if this is going to succeed, have to own their own negotiations. They have to invest in them.”1
This has not happened. Instead, the U.S. government has been trying to broker a deal. A third party is not the answer. Nor are solutions hammered out by governmental representatives of the two warring factions. Peace will only come when it lives in the individuals at war. Then there will be no war. As Charlotte E. Keyes penned in her article for McCall’s magazine during the Vietnam years, “Suppose they gave a war and no one came?”
Let’s back it up even one more step, to ourselves. We don’t live in the Middle East. But we live inside our own skins. Are there any wars going on in there? The honest answer for most of us is “Yes.” Oops. Seems like we may not be owning and investing in peace for ourselves. We may read and watch the news and wish things were different “out there,” but what about “in here?”
That’s the challenge and the opportunity each of us face, especially as we view what’s going on in the Middle East. We have our own long-standing animosities, wars we’ve been waging for decades. We probably don’t use guns. Our weapons are invisible. We swing the sword of resentment, we launch the missile of anger, we plant the land mine of simmering hate. Can we be honest about this?
Years ago I co-facilitated a University presentation called Personal Disarmament. We encouraged students to match personal behaviors with popular at the time weaponry. Such truth telling was powerful. We all winced, realizing that, as Pogo famously said, “We have met the enemy… and he is us!”
Similarly, we can meet the peacemaker… and he/she is also us. It’s just a question of how honest we choose to be, whether we will own the peace process and invest enough in it ourselves to make it so.
Will Wilkinson is a local author, filmmaker and director of a Happiness campaign. www.wakeupandbehappy.com
and website at: http://imagifi.blogspot.com