Lebanon’s nightmare… Asia’s future?

Paul Bograd

Posted on July 19, 2006

or, What Asia can teach the world

For the past week I have been thinking about writing something relevant to Asia about the events in Lebanon. Frankly, it has been a bit too depressing to write about. I mean decade after decade of victims making victims out of victims. Armed and funded by external, self defined puppet masters. This requires a certain intellectual masochism to contemplate for any extended period of time.

Now, before any reader jumps to conclusions, this statement is appropriate regardless of where your personal, political or spiritual sympathies lay.

So after a week of CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Wolf Blitzer, and Anderson Cooper reports I have concluded that there is indeed a message for Asia….”Don’t Learn Any Lessons From This Idiocy”. In Fact Maybe Asia has a few lessons to teach the world.

There will be no winner out of this chaos in Lebanon. Of course battles, engagements and encounters will be won or lost but the strategic nature of permanent, political, economic and spiritual coexistence will be set back generations. The fundamental economic, social, spiritual and political conditions necessary for productive coexistence are almost always destroyed by the use of military force.

Don’t misunderstand what I am tying to say. I am not naïve, nor am I opposed to an appropriate, efficient and effective use of military force when it serves the longer, strategic purpose. But this episode, does not qualify. In fact very few engagements of force qualify.

And that is a message that Asia should absorb from this latest episode in the Middle East. There are certainly enough “militarized situations” across Asia where the lesson is appropriate; Southern Thailand, The NPA and Muslim insurgencies in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, East Timor, and anti monarchy violence Nepal.

But in contrast, Asia has had a few of those “Bright Shining Star” moments lately that can demonstrate a better way.

In the face of fanatical attempts to destroy the productive engagement between Pakistan and India, the critical mass of national will on both sides remains on the road to stability and institutionalization of the economic, social, spiritual and political conditions that lift the lives and opportunities for Indians and Pakistanis alike.

In Aceh in Indonesia, generations of hatred have been put into retreat.

Even in the Philippines, a tortuous negotiation process with the MNLF brought a partial stability and determined ongoing negotiations with the MILF hold out a promise of the future for Muslim Mindanao.

So there are clear lessons for Asia.

There are lessons from the Middle East about what not to do, and lessons from Asia about what could become a series of continent wide Shining Moments that will teach the world.

No Comments

Leave a response