October 30, 2007

Selling A Vision of Hope

Nissim Dahan is another good man who is thinking of a solution to solve the mideast conflict. His ideas is following in brief:
  • Over the past two years, my wife and I founded a project called Selling a Vision of Hope. We like to think of it as a strategy for success in the Middle East, and as a way of promoting peace there. The basic approach includes: Selling a Vision of Hope, Sustaining a Vision of Hope, and when necessary, Fighting for a Vision of Hope.

Take a look at his website, or read his post in Mideastyouth. My comment to his post and idea, is following:


Nissim:many people tried to propose some ideas, either new or reviewed old ones, to solve the problems now underway in mideast, as well as to avoid the upcoming disasters.but good intention is something, practicality is another. for example, few months ago a nun was reported who used to offer catholic prayers in the morning, and muslim prayers in the evening (maybe timings were different, but the whole case was something like this), and claimed to be a Catholic Muslim... she wants to do a good to humanity, but has misunderstood the core problem.how can we find out whether a new idea is practical or not? just ask of the Road Map it suggests. as long as theory does not turn into practice, at least it would have no good effect... and the worst case happens when theory makes some bad effects in practice, though you dont want such a thing to happen.

the core idea of your plan is true, and almost the only truth: Bring Hope to The People. I admire it! but I feel that the ideal situation you portray here is somehow based on a Globalized understanding of the world in general, and this region in particluar. if we (here in the mideast) were the members of a global village, your plan would be pretty effective. but unfortunately we are not, and we are less likely to become such a thing in near future. Common Sense of Arabs tells something, Common Sense of Jews tells another, Common Sense of Iranians tells a third thing, and Common Sense of Bush administration tells nonsense (they are not mideasterns, but they changed the mideast dramatically, though much of their initial plan didnt happen in this region). you may add to this list many other common senses which dont seem to be converging at all. if the common sense was a consensus amongst all involved parties, there would be no problem, and this region would be called a sample globalized village.apply your model on a smaller community, for example current Iraq, and you will see all these problems again.then, understanding all the problems you have, if you are serious to develop a Road Map for your plan...I will pray for you!

October 15, 2007

Cup of Poison

Once I read in an article about the Modern International Politics that in a Newtonian system of politics, i.e. a democracy, each nation’s strong and weak points are clearly visible to all sides; then, in the case of conflict, each nation exactly knows its own limits and maximum possible benefits it can achieve in the struggle. That way, war can be easily avoided.
When a non-democracy (i.e. a country of which there is no accurate estimate of power) there exists in the above equation, the whole debate changes. Clearly the non-democracy, usually the weaker side, tries to pretend being stronger than what it really is, in order to take advantage of the situation. If the conflict of interests ups to an extremely high level, around the threshold of war, weaker one finds itself in a very dangerous status: on one hand, it can avoid war; on the other hand, it may be fully devastated. The stronger the other side, the more scaring would be the case for the weaker side. Here, weaker side starts sending mixed signals: it shows some signs of compromise if the other side is ready.


During the 8 years of war with Iraq, Iranian leaders would always insist on this slogan that “we will fight to the last drop of our blood, to punish Saddam and free the Iraq.” Many young volunteers died for the sake of that holy war, which was in the name of Imam Hussein (the symbol of martyrdom for Shiite).
But when late Ayatollah Khomeini found that it wouldn’t be possible anymore to fight (with all the support Saddam had from westerners, the economy of Iran being a full bankrupt and the Iran’s army loosing the war to the re-empowered army of Saddam and all of his WMD), he almost gave up on all those fanatic slogans, wrote a letter and accepted the ceasefire… he said: “I drank the cup of poison”.


The tradition of ‘drinking the cup of poison’, which politically means ‘compromise’ in the glossary of extremists, plays an important role in their understanding of the world. (Though right now Iran seems to have the upper hand in Persian Gulf,) US administration should understand that IRI leaders would never commit suicide if they find the act they are doing is suicidal. Compared with suicide, drinking ‘a cup of non-lethal poison’ and keeping the power is a more rational choice, I think.

October 8, 2007

Inherent Unsolved Questions of Democracy

  • "I do not try to teach it to others or to say that this is how you should be thinking. That would be a very hypocritical thing for me to do since I’m the way I am mostly because I am anti-collectivism and I hate people who bully others into believing certain things or forcing them to live life a certain way."
my first comment to that post:
  • though going with the flow might be the easiest thing one chooses to do, I cant do it right now. minorities always claim the same: putting “humanity, morals, human rights, tolerance, things like that” above all other things. but when they assume power, the hypocrisy shows up; or it is better said that the inherent unsolved questions of a democracy gain focus.
    how do they ban islamic hijab while claiming to be sincere advocates of freedom? this atheist might say that she is against that, but that wont solve anything.

Esra'a replied:

  • Firstly, who is “they”? It’s a huge generalization. Not all minorities are the same, especially if the minority in question is not competing for any form of power.
    Secondly, I don’t see how your argument is at all relevant. Sara did not personally ban the Islamic hijab and I’m pretty sure she does not support it. That’s something that happened in Turkey and to an extent in France, she lives in Kuwait. Why is this relevant? If you read her entire interview, you’ll see that she supports whatever personal decision a person makes as long as they were not bullied or pressured into believing it.
    All she is doing is not submitting to the pressure of the majority. I do not see anything hypocritical at all in her responses, or in her view. She is not even trying to claim any form of power, otherwise she would be actively promoting and preaching her views which she clearly does not.

my next comment:

  • that is not very hard to understand, Esra’a. the ban on Islamic Hijab is precisely consistent with and conforming to the principles of a secular regime, and any one who claims otherwise either doesnt know what a secular regime is or cant reason. same applies to the publishing of danish cartoons humiliating prophet muhammad: anybody who is to support freedom of speech in its original meaning, should support that act.
    now, ask so-called Atheists of their favorite government, and that would be a secular-liberal one for sure. then, opposing such acts (french ban on hijab, publishing danish cartoons, etc.) would be the most insincere thing they can do: they inherently support such acts… and you can find very easily what would happen if they assume the power: hypocrisy will be uncovered.