Speaking Difference

Mark LeVine’s Aljazeera opinion piece “Is peace ‘too much to ask’ in 2011?” is in response to the “Gazan youth’s manifesto for change,” a proclamation circulating on Facebook that calls out both Israel and Hamas for maintaining hopelessness as the status quo in Gaza. It is an astute analysis of how destructive intercommunal violence can be.

The oppression in Gaza comes from both within and outside of Palestinian society, making it clear that “before one can tear down the very real walls imprisoning Gazans and so many West Bank citizens, Palestinians first have to traverse the psychological, political, and diplomatic walls that anchor the physical walls.” LeVine points out that this phenomena of pitting different segments of a society against each other is not relegated to the Israeli/Palestinian situation, but “is spreading across the world…whether in Muslim countries like Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan, where Christian communities and moderate Muslim groups are under increasing attack, to Europe and the United States, where Islamophobia, prejudice and attacks against Muslims more broadly are increasing at alarming rates, the basic phenomenon is the same.”

The concern is not just peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but peace on a global scale. Will the reality of a globalized world be used as the hand-maid of some new sort of colonialism, pitting the different communities of a place against each other, or will it be leveraged as a place from which to build shared understandings?

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