Monday, August 28, 2006


Perhaps I was too harsh in my last post about the lack of insight in Palestinian society. Read the following, uttered by a Hamas (!) official:
Dismissing Israel's responsibility for the growing state of anarchy and lawlessness in the Gaza Strip, Hamad said it was time for the Palestinians to embark on a soul-searching process to see where they erred.

"We're always afraid to talk about our mistakes," he added. "We're used to blaming our mistakes on others. What is the relationship between the chaos, anarchy, lawlessness, indiscriminate murders, theft of land, family rivalries, transgression on public lands and unorganized traffic and the occupation? We are still trapped by the mentality of conspiracy theories - one that has limited our capability to think."
"We have all been attacked by the bacteria of stupidity," he remarked. "We have lost our sense of direction and we don't know where we're headed."

Now, that is some serious, soul-searching honesty. I particularly liked the realization that, by blaming others (i.e., the Jews/Israel) for all their problems--wallowing in victimhood and glorifying violence-- they have failed to take responsibility for the rampant thuggery and chaos that reigns in their society.

Could this be the start of some healthy psychological process in the Palestinian people and their leaders? Might we come to see some therapeutic alterations in world view and the adoption of...reality?

OK, maybe that's hoping for too much. The Palestinians have been dysfunctional for a long time, and there is considerable interest in the entire Arab/Islamic world in keeping them that way for a host of reasons that have little to do with what actually might be best for the Palestinian society.

But it is a good sign; and it seems to me as a therapist, that public statements like this are a move in the right psychological direction. The "bacteria of stupidity" that has infected Gaza and Palestinian territories has shown to be extremely toxic and very resilient; and it has led to much unnecessary death and suffering. But it can possibly be cured-- if the Palestinians are finally resolved to take responsibility for their own future; and if they begin to value life more than they value death.

Or, to paraphrase Golda Meir: Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate Israel.

UPDATE: Two days after I wrote this, Tony Blankley writes:
Some people of a theological bent see the current mess as a sign of God's imminent apocalyptic plans for us. And they may well be right. I prefer, however, to look on the optimistic side and consider that there may just be a politically curable stupidity bacteria in the air. But it certainly seems like a pandemic.

He's quite critical of the west's (including the Bush Administration's)inept handling of the pandemic. Worth reading.

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