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This short article is about a possible social vision.
The vision is that different people can live together in a dynamic social harmony.
I think and believe that each and every one of us has the right to live their private life as they want, as long as they don’t harm others. Each and every one of us can imagine how they would feel if something they enjoy doing (and doesn’t harm others) was forbidden. Imagine that for a moment.
This is the beginning (but not the end) of building a society that would be nice and fun to live in. To build such society we need to find the dynamic balance between equal opportunities and recognizing (and excepting) the different (in abilities and wills) between people. This will allow the difference between people to co-exist without causing conflicts and will allow us to make some social reforms that are much needed.
I think that the more we are aware to ourselves and the surround us, the more we realize that many of the things that bother us are caused by us and by our actions and what we allow others (sometimes by our silence) to do. This is the reason that I believe that we can change (and even better - improve) the things that bother us.
Instead of just being afraid from changes, we better check if the fear is good and keeps us from making mistakes, or the fear is bad and comes from a fixed frame of mind.
In addition, in order to allow the changes to take place, we need to work in many levels, beginning from the individual action (and the group) and all the way to the public arena and the political sphere.
If we’ll decide that we want to deal with the causes of the problems (and not just with the results) and we’ll thinks of the consequences of the different ways to take action, we’ll be able to make the improvements.
In order to achieve social harmony we have to protect the individual from majority tyranny and we also have to protect society from dangerous individuals and groups.
The discourse between the different people and groups should be based on real information, tolerance and respect for the other as well as for ourselves.
If we’ll know, as a society and as individuals, to evaluate others according to what they say and do, we can set the foundation for basic equality. By basic equality I mean an equality that is not affected by political and social opinions, beliefs and religion, gender, nationality, ethnic group, etc. (each of us can think of other factors that can create unjustified discrimination and bias). However, it is very important to me in this point to emphasize that I’m not trying to describe an ideal society, because I don’t believe in that. I think that the different utopian societies are not possible in real life, because they show a static society when life in real is dynamic with constant changes.
In addition, I’m not looking for a society in which all people are the same, because I think that no two people are the same.
I think that we can take from each culture the good parts and this way each of us can keep their heritage. This will give us the opportunity to combine the different cultures together, where possible. This way we can also find the balance between the different beliefs in our society.
In addition, I’m not suggesting that we can (or should) agree on everything all the time, but simply trying to say that in many cases it is possible, if we really want to give it a chance. I don’t think that a collision between societies (cultures, or civilizations…) is the only possible future, because in the end it all comes down to people. In many areas even I predict collisions, but I think that we can minimize their affect if we’ll be responsible even when we fight for our rights, opinions and beliefs.
The way we chose to take our actions is very important because when we choose only the violence way we create the feeling that only violence matters and we also create a legacy and atmosphere of violence.
We can reduce the level of violence if we look at every event with proportions, truth and morality. Maybe it won’t be easy, but it’s possible and depends also on each and every one of us and the way we choose to live our life.
Instead of just grouching, lets try to improve the things that bother us.

Thank you for reading, Asaf.

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Comment by jerry gates on May 17, 2009 at 2:27pm
Thank You Asaf, this concept is very doable and shows how the basic human rights of each individual is the foundation of equal rights for all, which heals rifts of disenfranchisement that cause enmity between people.

There is a tendency to craft healing between Israel and Palestine within the framework of negotiations that are led by national diplomats and seasoned statesmen and women that has fallen woefully short of progressing to a settlement between the Arabs if the West Bank and Jews in Israel. The parameters of the long standing conflict are difficult to negotiate when one side of the equation is well connected and powerfully backed by the United States, a powerful ally of Israel and the other side of the issue is refugees in confined occupation with little access to international support bases which offer military might as assistance to ending occupation and furthering the work of nation building in Palestine. The nation of Palestine is a goal of the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza as the nation of Israeli is an accomplishment of Jews who assembled their allies and lobbied for this land or at least some of it and made their way toward statehood and with a very powerful emphasis on military dominance in the region, while the military of Palestinians is yet crude and poorly supported with modern weaponry.

This seeming conundrum, however is not without a peaceable solution and can be solved with incremental steps toward the furthering of basic human rights rather than rhetorical battles and humiliating heavy handed occupation.

Not wanting to open old wounds, it is easy to see why the disparity exists between Israel and the Palestinians. The cultures are quite different , but if we look perhaps not so much at the societies of each neighbor but at the individuals, often common love and respect can be found and cooperation is much easier on this smaller scale of engagement.

Yesterday, In Philadelphia, my nearest city from my home , an Arab boxer had a match in a Philly arena. His trainer and staff are Israelis and so is the boxer. Tala is the trainer and Tuba the boxer. They are a TEAM and work to earn their living in international forums where coexistence and the foundations of human rights is a mandate. What we can see is two men who are nationally the same , but their ethnicity of social fabric is different. They work together to become successful at an shared enterprise and this shared development is witnessed by others and appreciated as progress along lines of healing between Israel and Palestine.

This website shows this very same dynamic. There are many examples of shareing between Arabs and Jews here and the atmosphere is a good one, filled with effort, hope, restraint and sometimes some enmity but we are human beings and this will happen. What we do with out enmity is the solution to our differences. If we discuss things and put ourselves in others shoes, so to speak, we can walk a mile in these shoes and contemplate life from the perspective of our neighbors, which grows understanding and in turn builds cooperation. There are , however pitfalls in our efforts and those of the political players on the national negotiations fronts.

Avoiding the pitfalls in promoting individual human rights is important, as we are building friendship as our focus and if we concentrate on enmity or differences we may separate along the lines of entrenched bias and memorials of our losses, losing the way by not concentrating on positive progress. Set Backs are unavoidable and if the weaker side of the cooperative efforts is bludgeoned during discourse by national Military means the peace breaks down somewhat and separation and enmity can replace coexistence as the credo of friends seeking peace for these two peoples.

Knowing how friendship is increased and fed with love, sharing and true concern for the future of Arabs and Jews alike, we should also be vigilant of how this love is destroyed and why. Tests of mettle come to both Israel and Palestinians and are met with sometimes very illogical conclusions that determine an unproductive course of action, such as the rockets fired into Sderot, a direct inflammation of enmity and a danger to Jews living in this area. The rockets seemed like a bad idea to outside onlookers and were the cause of reciprocal but not equal reaction from Israel. The cost of military intervention in Gaza is great to both Hamas and the IDF and Israel . One lost many lives, homes and municipal services during the invasion, losing ground in developing a governing body that provides for the needs of it;s people and the other losing considerable respect from many people due tho the brutality rained upon the population of Gaza . This cycle of weak resistance followed by strong punishment is depreciating the Israeli peoples political capital to insure the future of Israel while the constant aggravation of the rockets took away from Hamas professionalism and made them seem as if they are either unable or unwilling to make peace with Israel. It is not so much these militarist actions that exacerbate the road to peace as the sentiments that unsue post warring that cement peoples hatred for opponents in this conflict. Progress towards a equal playing field relationship between Israel and Palestine is not furthered by these actions and every side grows weaker in militarist actions, as they represent the base and immoral aspect of decision making by leaders, ofter intigated out of derision and anger at ill treatment.

What stops this cycle of violence is the ability to see life from the eyes of others even enemies or supposed enemies need to understand each others lives much more fully before the steps toward national recognotion and full measure equal rights can be expected to be granted by Israel.

There is little argument that it is Israel who holds the good cards in this poker match of wits and has , to date , been quite successful in preventing Palestine from forming government, electing leaders of their own choosing and finding their footing amidst constant harassment by the IDF. Perception, however can be skewed at times in favor of recognizing military might but not recognizing moral high ground as an advantage that often cannot be overlooked when military means fail to bring progress .

Morality is what I feel Asaf is showing in his article. I sense the wisdom of understanding how remediation of conflict can come with intra cooperative efforts to solidify individual human rights for every Jew and Arab in this region first, then create Palestine. This moral outlook is fine for Israel, but as their moral fiber weakens in militarist actions, the hope of Palestine fades and what grows in it's place is a disturbing anxiety that Israel is stalling with glad handing gestures that come never to fruit but disguise deceit and agendas to eradicate Palestine eventually, even as a hope for Arabs.

In this fear and concern that Palestine is being tricked and Israel can accomplish their dreams by this trickery, negating the hope of Palestine, Arabs are disheartened and resort to despondent and deleterious acts of desperation against the IDF or Israel which further their demise as hopefuls for nation hood in the minds of Israelis, hence discouraging both sides from engagement on the leadership levels of diplomacy, which is where we are today, discouraged.

MEPEACE offers hope to individuals who understand the importance of grass roots organization that sets it's course by forgetting as much past troubles as possible to engage in building trust. These reconciliations in macro scale can make the quantum leap to paradigm shift that empowers faster change through greater individual wisdom and knowledge of cooperative venues, When critical mass is reached in these tiny but vastly important outreaches, nations grow themselves and become immutably enriched by good will and cooperation.

In a way, when we just look into eyes and not at past enmity, we are restricted from anger due to the personal individual discourse of one on one wisdom, always greater that that of a group. One person respecting and loving another is a cornerstone. All we truly must accomplish is to make a lot of these stones and assemble a home for peace between Arabs and Jews or any warring factions in any place, Israel and Palestine could teach the world of woe how this is done and become a light to the world an effort worth making as we need all the light we can get.

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