Peace in the Middle East

Peace In The Middle East (2009 Edition)

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Peace in the Middle East

Peace in the Middle East

Back in the early 90s, when A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul were rap de jour for the people who actually went to high school (at least from what I could remember), the prominent “P.E.A.C.E.”, first popularized by Rakim, turned into “Peace in the Middle East,” a homage to those suffering as casualties of the Iraq War, soldiers and civilians. I mean, everyone I knew said it even if they had no recognition of who was supposed to be the enemy or who was telling the truth. For many of us, it almost signaled a unifying cry for all people in all hoods.

17 years later, it seems that these cries for peace have fallen on deaf ears as the Middle Eastern names of states and populations become part of the national zeitgeist. Israel. Palestine. Gaza. Afghanistan. Hamas. Olbert. Abbas. And in the middle, civilians of diverse backgrounds all waiting who’s going to hit them and their family with the next missile or who’ll run off and become part of the anti-establishment rebellion against the other “state.” In the larger scale, though, we have a ton of people, from the media to elected officials vying for our attention, trying to persuade us from joining their point of view, but never coming to an absolute resolve to do their part to broker some serious peace.

For example, this morning, I found out that Michael Bloomberg (you would think I was some sort of NYC blogger) and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly went to Israel to do something (showing support, campaigning and improving his standing with the Jewish community here, who knows?) when a rocket hit the town they visited. They had to take shelter in a safe room, only to come back and regurgitate the company line: “I think I speak for an awful lot, almost all Americans, who think that Israel is doing the right thing in defending itself.” Really? Now Mr. Bloomberg’s imposing his cognitive dissonance on the rest of us? Knowing that this war is far more complicated than that?

But he’s right: most people in this country may support Israel. After all, it behooves American public officials for this belief to persist since they’re sponsoring Israeli forces in weapon and spirit. If you can get Americans to believe that Palestinians are at fault for this almost hundred years’ conflict by just telling the 4 branches of national news (NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox) that that’s the only truth, well then you’ll have them eating out of the palm of your hand. For the people still wavering between either side, just numb them about this talk of war until they become apathetic rather than questioning. Who that leaves is the rest of us, those of us who look at the situation objectively and then make a critical assessment based on the facts. Many of us happen to be bloggers too, but not necessarily so.

I personally wouldn’t be able to say who’s right in this situation, though it looks like for every arrow Palestine can throw, Israel’s got more than a few bombs to handle its own. What I’m more concerned about is how this power struggle is just another hindrance from true peace and tranquility in what so many consider a holy land. Is true peace between those two entities even tenable? While most people on both sides agree that the best solution would be to have two separate nations altogether, it’s the details that create such acrimony. Then again, when the few up top feud, it’s the rest of us who suffer, right?

Our question is: will we find peace?

Jose, who gives a shoutout to P.E.A.C.E. in the Middle East, in 2009 as in 1991.

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

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