Thursday, August 17, 2006

And in the Middle East…

I got a question from my friend Esra, asking what I think about the current situation in the Middle East and Lebanon. I have not been blogging about the Middle East in a while, so I will make three short and general contributions to this debate.

1. My main argument is that this conflict is not in need of any more extreme political positions or unnecessarily hard words. My gut instinct, for example when I traveled in Iraq, is to look for individuals/groups/political parties who strive for peace, democracy and who are or can become members of the Socialist International. If that individual is an Israeli or Arab does not matter, and that individual’s religion is equally unimportant. It’s the values, not the background or religion, stupid.

Therefore, I believe that the best I can do is to help the Swedish Social Democratic party to strengthen our friends in the region. I have done that by being part of starting a youth center in the city of Kirkuk in Iraq (it is about to open this Autumn). The next project I aim to help starting will translate books, texts, speeches etc about social democratic ideology and practical policies to a lot of different languages. (This is always requested when I travel and meet new political friends around the world, especially speeches by Olof Palme).

This, I hope, will help strengthening political parties like the Labour Party and Yachad Party in Israel, Fatah in Palestine, the Progressive Socialist Party in Lebanon, and in a lot of other places where our friends are asking us to help them with basic political work. In this way, I somewhat naively hope and think, the extremism shown both by Hezbollah and the Israeli army will lose – in the long run – to progressive and democratic movements.

2. I think that the recent Swedish initiative, to arrange an international conference on the 31th of August to help rebuilding Lebanon, is a great and perfect example of what a social democratic government in a rich Northern country ought to do.

3. And let’s not forget that we practically have a war in Sri Lanka, that The Horn of Africa is a very problematic part of the world right now (see this week’s issue of The Economist), and that the African Union still looks unable to solve the on-going human catastrophe in Darfur.

It’s a difficult world, Gramsci told us not to be indifferent, and I have chosen to try to do my part through an international political movement I believe in. That’s my answer, Esra!


Anonymous Esra said...

Thank for your urgent answer Eric.
What you wrote include very good news to be heard! My point is also what Gramsci told "not to be indifferent" despite the undeniable borders. I just need to know what you think( and can not know since you haven't written anything on it)on that particular issue as a wise comrade. shining socialist regards...

17/8/06 20:56  

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