Monday, October 25, 2010

Is War the Only Choice?



It has been almost a century of tension, conflict , war, death and destruction in the Middle East. The conflict that has preoccupied the UN world leaders, Arab regimes and Zionists appears as far from a comprehensive resolution as it ever was. That is unacceptable since the killing, destruction, misery and mayhem must stop. This single conflict has resulted so far in the wars of 1948, 1958, 1967, 1973, 1982, 2006, 2008 in addition to the two Intifadas, Black September in Jordan, Damour, Sabra-Shatilla, Palestinian –Amal and Naher El Bared in Lebanon. Since tragedies, all tragedies have to eventually come to an end , it behoves us to ask whether this imbroglio is so exceptional and so unique that it will go on forever. History teaches us though that no conflict ,between any two peoples, goes unresolved. If we know that at some point there will have to be a resolution then wouldn’t the sensible thing be to lessen the uncertainty, decrease the misery and seek an honest and equitable synthesis of what separates the two sides.

Egypt and Jordan have signed separate peace treaties with Israel. These treaties have failed to live up to the expectations of the optimists but at least they have stooped the periodic devastating wars and allowed the governments to concentrate on civilian projects rather than wasteful expenditures on arms and killing machines. It would be difficult to argue that these two peace agreements have not served the countries well. Each of the two Arab states was able to negotiate an honourable agreement that respects its borders, sovereignty and ability to concentrate on its primary duty, improvement of the level of welfare of its citizens. I am sure that thousands of mothers have been spared the pain of losing their children to the war machine and an equally large number of fathers grateful for the opportunity to experience the joys of grand fatherhood that might have been stolen from them otherwise. And of course many young brides and good friends have been spared the ravages of war. If all of that is good for the Egyptians and the Jordanians then why isn’t it acceptable for the Lebanese to do the same? Where is it written that Lebanon is not allowed to pursue its own aspirations to prosper and avoid war? Are we condemned to fight on just because the Iranian Grand Ayatollah believes that the state of Israel should not exist? If that is so then why is it that Iran is willing to fight Israel to the last Lebanese and possibly the last Gaza resident?

All activities, be they of individuals, institutions or states must have a purpose and a well defined mean to attain it. No state should chose constant war when it can seek peace. The ultimate responsibility of a state is to protect its borders against incursions and to provide conditions within its borders that are conducive to the betterment of life for its citizens. The first goal, protection of the borders, is best accomplished through negotiations and peaceful means provide the outcome does not infringe on the rights and sovereignty of the parties. When such an option is available then it would be criminal to reject it and chose the attainment of the same exact goals but by paying a higher price in blood and treasure. Only irrational people will opt for the more costly and more painful solution. Unfortunately that is what Lebanon appears to be doing. Our political leaders, our businessmen and women and our civil society owe the country in general and the youth in particular an answer to the question of why must the option of suffering, death and destruction is the only choice? What if we can get back all the land and have safe borders without war? Why are we standing by as Hezbollah takes us to the abyss?

6 comments:

joseph said...

Good post.

In response to this, "Why are we standing by as Hezbollah takes us to the abyss?" what do you propose?

ghassan karam said...

The Lebanese politicians can at least present the argument that there is another option besides that of war and that resistance as a concept is a national right that belongs to the people and that is not the preserve of only one faction that refuses to hold itself accountable to the law of the land.

Anonymous said...

Ya GK,
It seems to me that the more educated people are....the more Irrational they become...
Israel invaded Lebanon in 82 creating Havoc, destruction, suffering and Death on a large scale.
The it overstayed its Welcome until it was FORCED out in 2000 by the Valiant Lebanese Resistance.
The Resistance deserves our utmost respect to say the least.
Low and behold, USA and ISRAEL attack Lebanon AGAIN in 2006, creating more Havoc, misery and more Death, and were DEFEATED by the same honorable Lebanese, even if you don't like it.
After an agreement was reached for cessation of Hostilities in 2006, after 33 days of War, the Israeli IDF war criminals dropped over 2 Million Cluster bombs on South Lebanon...., one of which exploded today killing a young man and maiming 3 others. Israel refused repeated demands for the maps of these BOMBS. Now, All you can find to say about all this long list of grievances is that you want peace at any cost...?
If I were the President of Lebanon, I would DEMAND from the international community those MAPS of IDF Cluster bombs before meeting any Foreign official on any matter whatsoever, and I would demand from ALL ministers and PM do the same, no matter what this position entails or whatever time it takes...before even contemplating any PEACE with the USA/Israeli MONSTERS.

ghassan karam said...

Anon
I am in total agreement with practically everything that you said but that does not preclude our seeking an optimal solution for the crisis. Let us not forget that the 1982 was not totally unprovoked as well as the 2006. In a sense we are currently seeking another confrontation because the 40,000 odd missiles are not under the control of the government but are controlled by a single group that is not accountable to the Lebanese law . Such a group presents a much greater risk to regional peace since it begs to be taken out.

Anonymous said...

Your article should have been titled “PEACE AT ANY COST”,even if Lebanon needs to bend over. Is this the sovereignty you are talking about?
Explain that to the kid who was killed by a cluster bomb dropped by the “peace seeking nation of Israel”.
I wonder about some of you, intellectuals, sometimes. Do you people write to prove your presence?

ghassan karam said...

Anon 5:11
I am sad to find out that this was your interpretation of what I was saying. But hey that is often the case. Readers have the right to interpret what they are reading any way they choose :-)

 

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