Saturday, January 15, 2005

I see much more hope for Palestine, which has the most educated population in the Arab world and a thriving economically active diaspora, than I do for Aceh. The TNI has been far more brutal in Aceh than the IDF has been in the Palestinian territories, and the Acehnese are far less educated and have a narrow 'dig it up and sell it' economic base. Your view of the magnitude of the problems in each region is distorted by the degree to which reportage has been possible in each one: i.e., continuous coverage of every tiny wrinkle of the al-Aqsa intifada over the last four years vs. a near complete press blackout in Aceh until a few weeks ago.

Strangely, I agree with all the points individually, but not as a whole. The Arab/Israeli conflict is religiously charged, and the fact that both sides are relatively well off and educated means also that they have more civil means at their disposal. That the degree of reportage is greater, means that any deaths are going to work in favour of the side that they are on. The real battle is for the heart and minds of the world, otherwise we wouldn't bother watching. The Palestine problem will always be the palestinians there being pawns in the proxy battle between arabs and Israelis. While there are undemocratic countries all around, none with any religious freedoms, the proxy battle will never be over. The battle of Kosovo has its roots in conflicts of over 500 years ago. I hope you are right, but in my heart I think the next peace will be temporary. I guess if Iraq becomes a thriving democracy with religious freedoms, it is just one step in the right direction.

1 comment:

Dr. Clam said...

Re Aceh: Did you see this astonishing "don't ask, don't tell" letter in the Weekend Australian? Gosh...

YOUR newspaper (14/2) has confirmed the worst fears of the Indonesian Government and many other Indonesian parties by "interviewing" members of the Free Aceh separatist organisation.

Providing much-needed aid to the tsunami victims should not be used by reporters to try to take advantage of this disaster to meddle where they should not.

Please bring your various reporters in Aceh under control and, if that is impossible, please do not publish what they report back to you.

It is none of Australia's business.
G.B. Owen