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What's in the banner?
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
O Joy! There will finally be peace in the Mideast. How do I know? Because Hollywood is on the job.
Wow! So, how are they going to accomplish this? Well, it's part of a 4 million pound peace initiative (So says the Telegraph---I don't know how you put a monetary value on that. Is there a bond market of some sort?) called "One Voice", brain child of American businessman Daniel Lubetzky.
Near the end of this AP article, One Voice is described as a plan "backed by academics, former U.S. officials and actors Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman." (Gosh! Academics, former officials, and short, annoying actors! It can't fail!) The article further says:
The 20 secret pillars of peace. Wasn't that by T.E. Lawrence? Well, he should know all about it. But I don't see how they're going to work if they're kept a secret.
This article is kind of vague too. Does One Voice have a website? But of course.
Here at last we get some details. I like the description on this article from Global Democracy (whatever that is) best.
A sidebar explains that:
So far, so good. And then:
Friends, I have seldom in my life seen a finer example of ActivistSpeak: The signatures are a gateway for engaging in a dialog which will result in proposals for overcoming obstacles. Why just do something, when you can discuss the tactics for approaching the strategies of the protocols for implementing the instrumentalities which...
The article goes on:
In other words, they're going to take a detailed poll to find out what people want. Although at this point is sounds as if the only people who count will be those who signed the petition in the first place. That's sort of what it sounds like here, in the group's FAQ. Only those people who signed in the first place get to discuss the actual issues. When (or if) the issues have been resolved:
Firstly, this won't be the People's Mandate, but the People Who Were Semi-Sane and Literate and Unintimidated's Mandate. Secondly, I invite you to consider the likely outcome of "confronting" the leaders of the PA by the "clear will" of the majority (assuming, of course, that it's different from what they're doing now), and their reaction upon being threatened with removal in favor of other leaders which will carry out the (putative) will of the majority.
I'm guessing a few executions would swiftly bring things back to the status quo.
I can only imagine that the founders of One Voice:
A) Are completely delusional about the mechanisms of "leadership" among the Palestinians, or
B) Think that the Israelis are the real stumbling block to peace. After all, it is only among the Israelis that the People's Mandate has the remotest chance of influencing the leaders.
The FAQ makes a very interesting read, addressing concerns like "Isn't One Voice a liberal dream?" with answers amounting to long-winded versions of "No." For example, one question asks whether democracy isn't foreign to Palestinians. The answer:
I am astonished to find that the existence of NGOs (such as? the ICRC? UNRWA? Hamas?) serving as "buffers" between government and society is somehow indicative of democracy. If it's democratic, why do you need a buffer? I am not astonished, but instead disgusted, at those who would hold up Arafat's 1996 farce as a genuine election.
The second point is telling: "...the democratic process is natural to all people with free will and does not require prior institutional expertise or structure." This must be why every human society has organized itself as a democracy, beginning with the ancient Sumerians and continuing on until the present day.
Wait, that's in an alternate universe. In the real world, societies are still often ruled by whoever is the strongest, or whoever can buy protection, or whoever has the largest tribe. While the dream of democracy may come easily, the actual implementation is a bit trickier. And many people who get the short end of their society's stick dream of revenge, and only call it democracy.
Those who overlook these facts are doomed to failure (and worse, ridicule).