Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Issues - their Identifications as precondition for solutions

Issues since 2002


Identifying the issues

In moving ahead to understand the Middle East some parables are needed to find important keys.

For when trying to find the way ahead, the quest for understanding becomes like a blind man not knowing the streets nor what the different eyes say left and right when perceiving this stranger, then the sense of touch with the fingers becomes important.

Always the Middle East has been associated with dust in the streets, but a dust to have poetry written in it. It would be possible to hear the feet in sandals running along until they would reach the staircase made out of stone by now polished by many having come along the same way.

Equally there is a sense of a startling beauty of landscape. Spring surprises anyone anytime spend there outside the settlements. It is a landscape that invites artists to begin a dialogue with silence until they discover the balance between man and nature in stone.

At the same time, the cities are not like other cities for the streets are always crowded at certain times with all kinds of people. There is a special rhythm that determines the flows and ebbs of people moving about.

The blind man is startled, for he can smell wonderful cents and hear very unfamiliar sounds.  Yet they are not so strange to him as they seem to be. Rather they appear to be close to the inner ear that the soul begins to vibrate show that man that he has found at least the place of orientation.

Like many before him he has come not to seek another well for he is not right now thirsty, but he wishes to understand some origins of his thoughts linked to the history of man as intertwined with religion. But instead of finding the church open, women sweep with big brooms on the square outside the church of Nativity still the traces away of a most recent siege. They tell him to sit on a bench until someone will come and show him the way.

In that setting, while remaining seated on that bench, an image came to him as if he was a young man who went with the sheep of all the neighbors out into the nearby hills and there he seemed to have discovered beside a little river someone singing beautiful songs. One of them had the refrain in it ‘but what happen’s when the light is gone out of your eyes’.

He never thought of himself as a blind man without light in his eyes. That image startled him and thus he tried to comprehend this image as if reading a book. He had no knowledge how his sense managed to conjure up something to be seen by his inner eyes. He had been for a long time alone, in the dark, and unable to speak about blindness as a fate.

So then he felt that answers to his questions can be found in the palm of his hand. Or the wind dries tears in his eyes. There is again the whisper of birds flying overhead to their nest, or in search of food.

Children running by remind him how refreshing life can be in the late afternoons when it is no longer so hot, with the public spaces still empty enough so not to be afraid of remaining there alone. For the others will surely come. It is their nature to seek the others, if not eye-to-eye, then ear-to-ear.

He has heard countless stories about life in the Middle East, but never did he image it to be like this: an empty space and if he listens carefully, the crying of some woman not far off or someone speaking out suddenly aloud before disappearing again in a distant trace as if waiting till everything witnessed over the past month has gone.

He touches with his feet the ground.

Where to start anew?

Adorno wrote once that the tragedy of the new is that responses to it are in general so negative, that it is forced to flee back into old structures. The new cannot consequently survive and is crushed by the contradictions between aspirations to resolve some basic dilemmas and the realization of having failed to bring about a change that would make a real difference.

Thus after the Middle East has proven once more to be but a biotope of violence, many Israelis say that they experience a world that is no longer simply friendly towards Israel and Jewish people. The rise of anti-Semitism in countries like France despite having one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe is cited as example. But also the great sensitivity to any form of criticism coming from a country like Germany which had until now tried to avoid harsh words due to what happened in the past makes it not any easier to distinguish between projections out of fear stemming from that time and what is now a different case.

In such a situation, anyone knowing Jewish people, criticism overstepping borders drawn invisible until now between what happened and what is allowed to be said, that leads to more exclusiveness and confinement of themselves to just the closest circle of friends and relatives. Official spokespersons e.g. president of the Jewish community in Germany attempt to reaffirm that former line but to what extent that is successful, remains to be seen.

At the same time, it can be presumed that in private they will have to confront on a daily basis in the aftermaths of the incursion some harder truths. Guided by their own free conscience speaking perhaps indirectly but still louder than guns, Israelis will not be able to avoid a more differentiated analysis and also what the soldiers returning from the incursion will account. It is then what has been gained and what form of life is now conceivable with walls going up and the Extreme Right pressing ahead – see the lack of support Sharon has within the Likud party for the creation of a Palestinian state, that will not add up to even accounts.

In March there were already every indication of their willingness to silence honest reflections and so denied themselves needed discussions to seek a way out of the constant cycle of violence. Now that the army is in operation, curfew means also limited, if any public debate about the validity of manifesting power only by military means. There is at risk that operations shall not cease but be extended to the Gaza strip.

The sequence of events reveal by now different layers: March as preparation, April the incursion and May the month of great sadness settling on the land as things have to be seen with sober eyes. Gone are the hopes to live in peace with the neighbors.

Although it should not be said, this word ‘never’ but there is real fear that the wounds created may never heal. Too deep has gone this humiliation and fear of the other.

Legality as military imposition does not help to heal such wounds. Already prior to the army’s incursion Israel deployed such methods to counter terrorism that were themselves violations of international law. By using the method of direct assassination of men suspected by the Israelis in having organized acts of violence and terrorism, no such proof was presented to a court, nor a way showed how this information was obtained that lead to such identification.

Identifying the issues

However, if politics based on political dialogue is to be regained, there is needed human understanding to alter communication with the others. This is to ensure that the others’ viewpoints are taken into consideration when moving towards substantial decisions. It would, therefore, require that ‘understanding’ is not used as a weapon, so as to maintain and to create such a common basis that people can come to an agreement and maintain it as a desirable life form.

That would mean aside from violence there are the usual problems of modernization bringing with it not only a change in values, but also forms of perversion that are deeply offensive to other cultures and which then tend to react or respond in a way that leads to but further regressions in human relationships.

A way to overcome that would be to develop another form of communication. This would requires taking into account the different levels of reflections when trying to comprehend subsequent series of events leading to decisions but also institutionalized forms of responses to crisis in human and social relationships. Often the word ‘structure’ is used in this context, but it may be misleading. In view of ever more conflicts involving violation of human law, there is but deterioration in political culture. It leads to an absence of dialogue, criticism and innovation while more and more resort naturally to over simplistic explanations. Usually this ends in just ‘blaming the other side’. It is done without looking at the conditions under which needs for a non-violent life could be satisfied.

Especially if these ‘sequence of events’ break any real sense of continuity of life, then the real danger would be, if allowed to continue unchallenged and unchecked, to distort completely any perception of life. Already too many begin to doubt in the aftermaths of 11th of September, and in view of events in the Middle East and elsewhere, that life has any real meaning. By furthering resignation and cynicism, the readiness to give up dialogue and to use instead violence, no one side thinks in terms of the other what survival means anymore.

The negation of the other(s) has consequences as to what actions seem still to be appropriate for not only the current world population struggling to come to terms with a range of issues from sustainable development to poverty, but for all situations marked by violent conflicts.

Handling of world issues in a global Information Society

Problems with identifying the issues and priorities within the Information Society can be exploited in many ways. Crucial was how world leaders in support of Globalization, that is in the form of Free Trade as practiced by the leading economic powers, responded once criticism of globalization articulated itself at full scale in Seattle 1999. Rather than entering a dialogue, harsh police measures transformed the immediate surroundings into a war zone like arena while the international meeting was cancelled.

Not coming to an agreement was, therefore, celebrated in various ways as success over failures while the real failures were not really identified. This then altered the sense of urgent matters being no longer postponed, but diverted away from the power of the street and into securing different forms where agreements could be reached unperturbed as to what the world was thinking.

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