A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

laughter – the best medicine for this world?

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on November 4, 2006

having realized last week that the absentee ballot I so carefully ordered last May has been sent to my apartment in Beirut, I agonized for some time over whether my desire to vote merited another trip home. I have voted in every election since turning 18, the small as well as the large, and … yes, I did want to vote in this one as well. I vote in a swing state, and the country needs to do some definitive swinging on Tuesday.

After arriving home this morning, I settled in at the kitchen table to check email, and found this rather timely piece by Rami Khouri waiting for me on google alerts:

Is Washington Promoting Democracy or Comedy?

SAN FRANCISCO — If you did not hear it, the bell for the second round of the new Cold War in the Middle East rang on Wednesday, in the form of the United States and Hizbullah trading accusations against each other about assorted sinister aims. There is much that is interesting and important — indeed, historic — about this face-off, despite the silly elements.

Five years or so ago, the world’s most powerful country was firing missiles at men hiding in caves in Afghanistan — and it still fights that battle without full success. Today, that same American global power wages acute political war against a charitable society, albeit an armed and disciplined one.

As Hizbullah and the United States battle one another, they also represent wider forces that now collectively define the new ideological battlefront in the Middle East, and perhaps the world. As in much of what the United States does in the Middle East, there is farce amidst the bombast.

Washington accused Hizbullah of acting on behalf of Syria and Iran to topple the Lebanese government headed by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, and pledged its support for a “sovereign, democratic and prosperous Lebanon.” That ear-shattering noise that you may have heard when the United States made that statement was the collective laughter and knee-slapping, eyeball-rolling incredulity of somewhere between 5 and 6 billion people in this world who are falling over in the aisles — because when they compare Washington’s actions against its words, they can only take this performance as comedy.

That laughter you hear is… oh, well, just chalk this one up to the fact that it is election time in the United States, when Washington’s normal large quotients of clueless confusion and expedient hypocrisy abroad are aggravated by a whole new universe of insincerity directed at a domestic audience. The combination is devastating for any attempt to foster civility, rationality and win-win conflict resolution outcomes.

Thankfully, the electioneering silly season is over in a week’s time here in the United States. After that, in late November, get ready to hear the bell for round three of the new regional cold war.


read the full article at: http://www.agenceglobal.com/article.asp?id=1092. Agence Global was founded by Jahan Salehi, who I have never met but hear much about, as we have an old, and very wise, teacher in common.

I’m not sure this comedy is one I wish upon the world, but I am hopeful that Tuesday evening the laughs will have less cynicism and more joy.


One Response to “laughter – the best medicine for this world?”

  1. very nice blog!mary

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