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    Since the summer of 2014, 8 European Heads of Foreign Affairs have been to Gaza.

    The 1st one was Borge Brende, from Norway, on September 8, 2014. Then came George Vella, from Malta, on October 29. Followed by Martin Lindegaard, from Denmark, on November 4, 2014.  A few days later, the Head of External Affairs for Europe, Federica Mogherini, made it to Gaza in her turn.

    In 2015, the first one to enter the Gaza Strip was José Garcia-Margallo from Spain, on January 13, 2015. On February 16, 2015, Charles Flanagan, from Ireland, was the 6th European Minister of Foreign Affairs to see for himself. Then came Frank-Walter Steinmeier, from Germany, on June 1st, and Bert Koenders, from the Netherlands, on July 15.

    To each of them go our appreciation and gratitude. They represent the Europe that we believe in, standing for awareness and responsibility.

     

     "We cannot wait until talks about a two-state solution are back on track, to improve living conditions.

     

       We are sitting on a powder keg here. We must make sure it doesn't ignite."

     

      German Foreign Minister  Frank-Walter Steinmeier upon his visit to Gaza, on June 1, 2015

     

    GermanyForeignOffice   @GermanyDiplo

     

     FM#Steinmeier in #Gaza: I take the hope from my Talks in #Jerusalem + #Ramallah, that the danger of a burning powder keg is being seen.

     

     FM#Steinmeier : Need opening of #Gaza borders + economic development. Gaza must not become launch pad for rocket attacks on #Israel again.

     

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  •  

    January 15, 2015 [Martin Luther King could have been 86 today]

    “Take me way back, take me way back, ah !

    …Take me back to when the world made more sense

      Well there’s too much suffering and confusion…”

                                      - Van Morrison (Hymns to the Silence)

     

    Take it back to just before Christmas 2014. Barely 9 or 10 weeks ago. We had the Har Nof Synagogue attack in Jerusalem (see below).  We also had the attack of a bus on the road to Nairobi, Kenya. Then, we had onslaughts and kidnappings of young girls by Boko Haram jihadis, in Nigeria, uncounted. This was the usual to us all.

    On our way, as Peace Liners, the first time we came across jihadis (from Afghanistan) was in Middle Bosnia, in the winter of 1993. Nobody in the West spoke about them then. They only spoke of the Serbs. To come across these jihadis from far away, you had to travel through the mountains, places that most journalists avoided.

    With 68 Nobel laureates, we confronted these jihadis and their brothers in arms again in Algeria, in 1997-1998, when no one in the West, and almost no one in France, cared to acknowledge what they were trying to achieve – nothing less than the Caliphate, the Islamic State. Their first task then was to slaughter journalists (read Hassan Zerrouky about it).

    Lo, in our long struggle for peace in Palestine-Israel, we have not met with any of them. Their numbers are restricted to Islamic Jihad militants and a few marginal groups in Gaza. Still, they caught up with us, when they struck in the heart of Paris, on January 7 and January 9, 2015. All in the name of jihad without borders, from Yemen and Iraq, Syria, back to Paris, France.

    This time, they were not exactly aliens, from exotic lands. The gunmen were “made in France”. Such is the double bind to which we are exposed, and that we must expose : terrorists want to terrorize us, paralyze us. Whereas some strategists want us to embark upon military ventures in distant lands, to “combat terrorists” they say.

    Thus realizing Orwell’s five prophecies :

    1- “… three super-states are permanently at war, and have been so far for the past twenty-five years. (…) war hysteria is continuous and universal (…) The fighting, when there is any, takes place on the vague frontiers whose whereabouts the average man can only guess at…” “To understand the nature of the present war – for, in spite of the regrouping which occurs every few years, it is always the same war – one must realize in the first place that it is impossible for it to be decisive.” “It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist.”

    2- “All of the disputed territories contain valuable minerals, and some of them yield important vegetable products (…) the object of waging a war is always to be in a better position to wage another war.”

    3- “The primary aim of modern warfare is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living. (…) The problem was to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real wealth of the world. (…) And in practice the only way of achieving this was by continuous warfare.”

    4- “And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.” (…) “It is precisely in the Inner Party that war hysteria and hatred of the enemy are strongest. In his capacity as an administrator, it is often necessary for a member of the Inner Party to know that this or that item of war news is untruthful, and he may often be aware that the entire war is spurious and is either not happening or is being waged for purposes quite other than the declared ones: but such knowledge is easily neutralized by the technique of DOUBLETHINK.”

    5- “DOUBLETHINK means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. (…) The process has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence of guilt. (…) One clear illustration of this is the fact that war hysteria increases in intensity as one rises in the social scale. Those whose attitude towards the war is most nearly rational are the subject peoples of the disputed territories. To these people the war is simply a continuous calamity which sweeps to and fro over their bodies like a tidal wave. They are aware that a change of overlordship means simply that they will be doing the same work as before for new masters who treat them in the same manner as the old ones.”

    So, welcome to this Brave Old World, readers, thinkers, dreamers of the day, and occasional visitors!

    May you not feel dispirited by such continuous tidal waves of doom and gloom. After all, double bind situations, whose effect is to make us feel powerless, are not without exits.

    Open the Doors !

     

     

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