Some commentators are referring to the Israel-Hamas "war" as a side-show, when compared to the Sunni-Shia fight that seems to be consuming the Middle East. However, we are provoked to ask, "Are the two not inextricably entwined?"
Is not Iran, a Shite state, supplying arms, intelligence and resources to both Hamas and to the Iraqi government in their push-back against ISIS?
Is not Russia supplying arms, intelligence and resources to both Assad in Syria as well as to the Iraqi government's resistance against ISIS?
Is America not futilely attempting to filter her billions of contributions of arms, intelligence and resources to the "good guys" among the some 1500 different terrorist/rebel groups in Syria while also attempting to shore up the Iraqi government against ISIS?
Has Saudi Arabia, if not her government officially, at least many of her wealthy individuals and organizations not been supplying cash and arms to AlQaeda and its many derivatives for years now?
Is there not as well as a Sunni-Shia conflict that provides excuses for Hamas, Hezbollah, Assad, Iran, Iraq, and even countries like Yemen, Tunisia and Egypt to keep their local "pot" boiling, as well as extending their unique and individual spheres of influence to the limit of its potential, regardless of the consequences not also a shared Islamic contempt, hatred and wish for annihilation of the state of Israel and the Jewish people?
Are Russia and the U.S. not on opposite sides in the negotiations over the development of Iran's nuclear weapons capability? Are Russia and the U.S. not also competing for influence in the Middle East, with Russia generally supporting both Iran and Assad, and America holding fast to her long-standing adopted nation, Israel? And is not the Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons, regardless of the protests of her Foreign Minister on NBC's Meet the Press just this past Sunday that Iran does not need nuclear weapons given her many strengths, not directly comparable and relatable to the historic possession of such weapons by Israel, through the aegis of the United States?
With the breakdown of both the Iranian-Group of Five+1 negotiations over nuclear centrifruges and the breakdown of the recently Egyptian-proferred terms for a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, the continuing human devastation in Syria, the barely surviving Lybia, the pressure from millions of refugees into countries like Jordan, Turkey and the enhanced determination of ISIS to take control of at least the eastern and central sections of Iraq, including the oil fields in Tikrit, among the largest on the planet and the complicated and over-thought resistance of many western countries either to know how to intervene effectively, or to collaborate with a single voice amid the turbulence of this cauldron of multiple political, historic and religious "chemicals"....the mixing of which under these conditions is an experiment completely foreign to world history...are we not witnessing a high-risk potential for a single spark, like the one that leapt from the grass-mowing machine in the tinder-box that comprises the parched grass and forest in the British Columbia interior yesterday spawning an instant forest fire, adding to the dozens already out of control?
Simple aphorisms like, "we live in complex times" uttered from the mouths of political pundits like Chris Matthews, normally a reliable left-leaning voice of moderation, seem so out of touch with the reality of failed states, migrant children, abducted girls, cancerous terrorist cells frenetically pursuing the will of Allah, arms and intelligence shipments from major powers seeking to restore their former political hegemony in a world now torrentially blowing toward a multilateralism of shared and competing alliances, preparations for which have not even been contemplated, in the strategic sense. At least in the west, we seem to have been fixated on the development of tactics, new robotic donkeys, new unmanned drones, iron shield defence systems like the one current blocking many of Hamas rockets from killing Israeli civilians, and even cyber defences like the "underground" internet, while ignoring the shifting sands of time, ideology, religion, fanaticism and the impact of globalization and social media on the lives, aspirations and capacity of the poorest, the least educated and the formerly deaf and dumb underclass, the victims of the many preying mantis cells of a different form of alienation, revenge and erupting power grabs...from terrorists, from militias seducing children to join their "gangs" from state leaders (like Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria) whose capacity to lead, through the recovery of some 200 abducted young girls is capped by his fear of Boko Haram.
The intellectual/academic history of the west is premised on the notion of the separation of files, economic matters are left to the economists, political matters to the political scientists, demographics to the demographers, nuclear power to the nuclear scientists, religion to the theology and ecclesial scholars, crime to the criminologists, medicine to the medical practitioners (divided many times into even more finely tuned specialties) legislation and law and order to the legal fraternity, climate to the climate scientists and sports to the physical education grads, while business is open to the entry of many intellectual disciplines all of them focused on the generation of profits....however, we do not have an academic discipline historically dedicated to the indentification, enhancement, and preservation of the voice of the public citizen, nor to the voice of the public good, nor to the voice of the common public interest.
And the more we witness the separation of the many files that overlap on all public issues, including the pursuit of illegitimate power, abusive power, based on human greed, avarice, and the need for control...all of them founded deeply in neurosis, whether of the individual, the organizational or the state variety, the more we will continue to witness the triumph of the forces that threaten the human race, at the same time as the we witness the demise of the voice of moderation, reason, humanity and compassion.
It is not only in our video games, nor only in our extreme sports, nor in our geopolitics, nor in our capitalistic pursuit of the greatest profit for the fewest insiders, that we are witnessing and also experiencing the fallout from these nefarious motives and behaviours; it is also in our complicit withdrawal from the "field of play" through refusing to vote, through efforts to bar access to the polling booth, through the atrophy of consumer power in the face of the mega-corporations, through the atrophy of the small local business enterprise resulting from the insatiable appetites of the largest and most powerful corporations, banks, financial services companies, linked in many cases to the power structures of too many struggling states, whose leaders depend on the rich and powerful to support their political campaigns....
We need a concerted rise of armies of informed and activist citizens even and especially in countries in which the public face bares signs of historic democracies, to confront the way power is being deployed on our behalf, by political forces with deep, special interest pockets, and the advisors who enable them to manipulate their "spin" over an unsuspecting, naïve and somnambulant body politic if we are to seek and to find our collective, collaborative way through the tangle of the amazon-like jungle of forces that are increasingly blocking out the light of hope, compassion, empathy and creativity, on the macro-scale. We admire those pin-point lights on individual creativity and imagination that pop up here and there among young and old, together seeking better ways of doing things, and propose that perhaps their micro-lights will gather enough energy to attract the divided and competitive political leadership that currently exhibits a fixation on its own retention of power, at the expense of the many serious and deeply entangled nerves, muscles, tendons and bones that constitute the anatomy of the body politic....and the result is a kind of dangerous paralysis that, if not untangled, could and likely will, sabotage all of humanity in one of many potential forms of hell, all of them having given clarion warning calls, and all of them preventable with a transformation of our perceptions of our indisputed interdependence.