Monday, June 7, 2010

ANITA PRATAP, INDIA: Reactions to Israeli attack on flotilla

Understandably, developments in the highly polarized Middle East arouses strong, emotional responses from people not only in the region, but from around the world.

It serves no one’s cause to feed into the anger, sense of injustice and pain that pervades the region
. Especially when feelings run high, rather than fall prey to divisions and antagonisms, it becomes even more important for us, as caring, responsible women, to strengthen bonds and rally humane forces to pursue what we believe to be the greater common good.

This pain and anger embroils SAVE now. Important questions, fears and doubts have been raised and these need to be addressed. Calmly and unitedly.

As I understand, SAVE is not a political platform but a forum to bring together disparate voices that share universal values and seek a common goal: to find ways and means to end violent extremism. Topical emotional issues that surface should not tear SAVE apart. Rather it reinforces the need to bridge differences, suspicions and animosities through dialogue.

If SAVE members behaved in any other way, there would then be little to distinguish them from the political parties and extremist groups that indulge constantly and compulsively in divisive polemics and tactics that has only succeeded in pushing the Middle East further into the vortex of violence. Distress at the turn of events is natural and yet the challenge before us is how to overcome it in a way that also helps us to break out of this vicious cycle. We must, becaue if we didn’t, we are punishing the ordinary people of the region who are the ones to continue suffering the consequences.

This is an opportunity for SAVE to show the way, become a genuine trailblazer as the voice of reason and reconciliation. Turning against each other is a self-goal. We need more allies, not alienate the few allies and friends we have.

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