Friday, July 29, 2011

Grass Roots


Time and time again we see governments fail to negotiate and make compromises in order to solve disagreements. Look at the current fiscal situation in the US, where both political sides have dug in their heels and seem unwilling to find a middle ground and thereby avoid default on our national debt in just a few days. I am somewhat incredulous that an element of these politicians actually want to see the country take this dangerous plunge.

Then there is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that once seemed on the road to peace, but now seems forever derailed. Just this week I read a story in the NYT that warmed my heart and gave me new insight as to how the peace process might be approached. A group of Israeli women organized a trip to the beach to include Palestinian women, who in many cases had never before even seen the sea.

The Palestinian women were smuggled into Israel, where they spent the day in Jaffa playing in the waves, followed by a rooftop dinner and dancing to Palestinian melodies. They returned home with an entirely different image of Jews and of Israel. Although the Israeli women have been brought in for questioning, no one has yet been charged with facilitating this illegal border crossing. It seems this has spawned what may be more and more trips to the beach with everyone on the same playing field.

This story made me angry at the governments that seem so inept at doing the best thing for everyone concerned because it doesn’t necessarily coincide with the political agenda. It made me wonder if grass roots efforts like the beach trips are not the better way to get things done.

I applaud these brave Israeli women who are sick and tired of the occupation and ready to peacefully coexist with their neighbors. I equally applaud the Palestinian women who took the hands that reached out to them.

And now I ask whether there is a place for a common citizen like me to help bring about the financial reforms that can once again put our country back on a solid path and not leave our children and our grandchildren with a mess to clean up just because those in power forgot how to talk to each other.

3 Comments:

Blogger Angela said...

I am applauding you, Barbara! And yes, I am convinced that change for the better can ONLY come from grass roots, from ordinary people who won`t follow "traditional" behaviour. In Northern Ireland they found ways, too. I am SURE there are ways in Israel and Palestina, like the one you mentioned. What you can do? Publishing this was a good beginning. I think that even our ATTITUDES once they are in the world are helpful, and even more when they are spread.
When one considers what history the Germans and the Polish had, only 70 years ago, I marvel at my friendship with my Polish friend Ewa and her family. It can work!

12:58 PM  
Blogger e said...

This is a great post and thank you for the story about the women. I've always thought that good things happen when women take charge.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

This is a wonderful post Barbara. I too think that some politicians want to see the country take a plunge just so they can point fingers and place blame. It is a terrible thing to realize this about our leaders.

8:48 PM  

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