Adjusting With Othe Cultures – Assignment Example
Can people of different cultures live on the same land? It is a question that has bedeviled humanity from time immemorial: can different ethnic groups live on the same land? How can they do so without violence? The answer is that it is very difficult. The best example in the world today of this difficulty is in Israel/Palestine. Few geopolitical issues are as complex and difficult to solve as the conflict in the Middle East. It has a long and bloody history and many people have tried and failed to solve it before. Nothing new has happened in the last few years to make it any easier to solve. In fact, some things have gotten quite a bit worse. As things stand now, it is unlikely this conflict will be resolved. The two sides are intractably opposed to one other. Furthermore, the Arab world is poorly developed in economic sense, the maintain old grievances and are unable to look to the future.
Because human identities are not stable they can be manipulated by demagogues and bad people. It is easy for propaganda and newspapers to whip people up into an aggressive frenzy. Ethnicity and nationalism can be used to convince people to kill their neighbours, or blow themselves up on buses full of civilians. It can cleave nations in two, and destabilize whole regions. As Edward Said has written, “Human identity is not natural and stable, but constructed and occasionally even invented outright” (Said). In the course of this conflict, ethnic nationalism—a collective aspect of human identity—plays a very significant role. The conflict is shaped and motivated by both Israelis and Arabs who want to secure their claim to land and history. None of this is new, but in a world as connected as ours, such conflicts are more damaging than ever before in our history. There has been little movement towards reconciliation in recent years. These issues form the background and backdrop of the problem. They are now so much a part of the narrative that they are virtually impossible to change.
What is the key to solving this conflict? The solution must lie in trying to stabilize ethnic groups’ identities in a way that is inclusive and not aggressive. People have to share more, whether that means land or resources. They cannot define their existence in opposition to another group. They will get nowhere by focusing on what separates them or in what proves their victimhood.
Malley, Robert and Hussein Agha. "Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors," New York Review of Books, 9 August 2001.
Dershowitz, Alan. The Case for Israel. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003.
Clinton, Bill. My Life. Vintage, 2005.
Eran, Oded. "Arab-Israel Peacemaking." The Continuum Political Encyclopedia of the Middle East. Ed. Avraham Sela. New York: Continuum, 2002.
Said, Edward. Orientalism. Toronto: Random House, 1979. http://books.google.ca/books?id=zvJ3YwOkZAYC&dq=edward+said+orientalism&client=firefox-a&source=gbs_navlinks_s