Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is There a Camelot?

Last night I had dinner with a colleague who has become a good friend. We were comparing notes on the myriad challenges we face at work - including struggles we've had between us and our immediate team. Over dinner (and drinks) we shared a lot of frustrations, laughs, stories, and other nonsense, and it reinforced to me again, that if I just meet people on a human level, we can work just about anything out.

But then there is the Middle East...
(I know your head is spinning with that segue, but that's how I roll...)

I saw a documentary last year where a jewish mother and a palestinian mother were being interviewed. The palestinian woman had a daughter who had been a suicide bomber and the bomb had killed the daughter of the jewish woman. They were interviewed separately and in those interviews they were struggling to find the compassion and commonality to understand one another's pain. The palestinian woman, in particular, was touching as she talked about having no idea her daughter would consider such an act and how it tore her apart to think of the pain and devastation it had caused.

Eventually, a meeting was arranged between the two. And this is where my human connection story fails. There was no way for these women to see eye to eye. The hatred is fully entrenched. The sense of being wronged, of being persecuted, of being victimized is so embedded in their being there was no hope of a woman to woman moment of truth.

As I watch the new administration looking at new ways to address these multi-generational conflicts, I wonder if a possibility exists that reason can overwrite history. Can past wrongs be acknowledged and forgiven? Can borders be re-drawn and accepted? Can a new camelot arise with Might FOR Right, instead of Might IS Right? Will my generation or the next ever realize a basic human connection?

--------------- WEST WING INTERLUDE ------------

BARTLET: The Mideast reminds me of that joke about the optimist and the pessimist. The pessimist says “Everything is terrible. It can’t get any worse.” The optimist says “Oh, yes it can.”

HARPER: It can get easy to forget that there’s a silent majority on both sides who just want to live their lives.

BARTLET: Unfortunately, you spend all your time focusing on what’s drowning them out: the invective and bomb blasts.

HARPER: Isn’t it our ultimate moral responsibility to them?

BARTLET: It’s quicksand. An ego trip.


BARTLET: Chasing that Nobel Peace Prize right down the same sinkhole.

HARPER: After 50 years of strife and futility, there’s no dishonor in failure. The only dishonor might be not to try.

--------------- WEST WING INTERLUDE ------------

Amen Sister. Rather than allowing every media outlet and pundit in the world to tell us why not to try, why don't we wait and see if President Obama, Secretary Hillary, and Mr. Mitchell can all work together to pull that sword out of the stone.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I will hope.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping too.

It will take a lot of work, but maybe, just maybe that sword will be pulled out..

Kate Hanley said...

If you like documentaries, check out the BBC's The Power of Nightmares. It discusses the rise of neo-conservatism and the rise of radical Islam in the world. The parallels are fascinating.

A's Mom said...

I hope so too, but I think the majority of the US has turned a blind eye to it for too long. If it's not on US soil, it doesn't effect them. I have to admit being guilty to that.