September 2008

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An article by Alfred Farrugia, former Maltese diplomat and ICAR Ph.D. candidate, in the Famagusta Gazette, addresses the structural ways in which conflict can be reduced in Cyprus following the Maltese political model.

The Parliamentary system in Malta has worked fairly well since the island gained its Independence from Britain in 1964. Perhaps the time has come for Cyprus to consider the possibility of moving from a Presidential system to a parliamentary system…

Cyprus needs a paradigm shift to reach a sustainable solution with the two communities represented in a single Cabinet of a united government. With EU membership, the Turkish Cypriots have a guarantee that the past mistakes will not be repeated again. The basic human needs of security, identity and recognition can be satisfied in a united Cyprus if the two communities really wish to live in peace with each other, as they did for generations….

Turkish

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Is America learning from its disasters how to hold people together in community, how to prevent and manage conflict? It is not clear that anything will be learned from the current direction of leadership. The level of corruption from the Republican administration has been astonishing, and can only guarantee that people will be at each other’s throats. This is not how to prevent conflict and build community. Here is this note of concern on FEMA’s response to Ike:

With hurricanes Gustav and Ike slamming ashore, focus again turns to FEMA’s performance, and we continue to be less than inspired. After Gustav, the agency admitted that it underestimated how much food and water and other goods that Louisiana would need. It promised the people of Houston ice and water in the immediate aftermath of Ike. It turns out that the Salvation Army had hot meals going and a local radio station

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What is *Reality*? – Welcome to the Sulha

by mgopin on September 29, 2008 · 4 comments

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In the context of major global conflicts, where everyone is analyzing what is right or wrong, black or white, left or right, it has occured to me that the definition of reality sometimes gets lost in the mix.

Here are few definitons of reality occording to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

‘Reality’

1: the quality or state of being real

2 a (1): a real event, entity, or state of affairs reality(2): the totality of real things and events realityb: something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily

Imagine for just a moment if headlines coming out of the Middle East read like this tomorrow….

Today thousands of Arabs, Jews, Israelis,
Palestinians, Seculars and Religious, Christians, Muslims,
Druze, young and old gathered to dance, to cry, to share, to
laugh, to work, to play and ultimately, to live together for
three days just a few miles outside of

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Professor Solon Simmons of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and myself have a live discussion on the last stages of the American election campaigns, why it is so close, what are the options left to the candidates to move the undecided voters in one direction or the other.

Solon Simmons

Solon Simmons

We also consider what this election says about the state of American values and where the country is going. Note: Since this was recorded it seems that Obama is following much of our advice as to how to strengthen his base.

Discussion is recorded here:

09_Simmons_Gopin.mp3

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A New Direction for US-Muslim Relations

by mgopin on September 25, 2008 · 7 comments

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Yesterday Marc participated in panels on Capitol Hill and at  The National Press Club to coincide with the release of a seminal report entitled “Changing Course: A New Direction for Relations with the Muslim World” issued by The US-Muslim Engagement Project. Marc was one of thirty four Americans who constituted the Leadership Council on U.S. Muslim Engagement. It was a bipartisan group of leading Republicans, Democrats, Muslims, Christians, and Jews, secular and religious, liberal and conservative. They met over a period of two years to create this report which has detailed recommendations for the United States Government, NGO’s, and for the governments of the Muslim world. The convening this extremely diverse group was also meant as a model of how to change course and what kind of negotiations need to take place in the United States in order to create positive change, as well as in the global …

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McCain’s Temper and Global Conflict

by mgopin on September 23, 2008 · 4 comments

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John McCain

John McCain

I have been uneasy for eight years with the trend in American politics of anointing men with tempers. This is not safe in terms of global conflict. I think of the incredible pressures of the White House, and the reality of having the ability to destroy the earth many times over. I think of the Cuban Missile Crisis and how we might have all died when I was six years old if John and Bobby Kennedy had uncontrollable tempers. I opposed John Silber and Howard Dean, two Democrats, for president because of their tempers, which I personally witnessed. In conflict, character is everything, far more important than strategy, though strategy matters. More will emerge in the future about anger and George Bush, and about the conduct of the war, but in many ways that is history now. What matters now is whether Americans make a wise decision about …

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Senator Obama has some interesting comments on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict that deserve reflection. Here is an excerpt from his trip to the region:

The next day, and the final full day in Israel, we spent finally doing a little bit of sight-seeing and traveling through the old city of Jerusalem. Those of you who have been here know the incredible magic of the city. As the sun rises over 2,000-year old walls – walls built by David, Soloman, the Turkish Empire, we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where the site of Calvary and Jesus’ tomb is located. Just a stone’s throw away, the Western Wall; across from there you have the magnificent Dome of the Rock, gilded in gold. It gives you a sense of just how much history is here and it reminds us that you have to be humble when you think about the Middle East

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That is what my daughter Lexi wrote on an elaborate sign, beautifully painted, that greeted me one Sunday morning.

I could not imagine who Freddy was. Hours earlier, with the family still asleep, I had discovered a small mouse in our guest room. I scooted out and shut the door fast. We knew we had to find some sort of trap before the house became infested. Well, Lexi went into a serious funk. She has just become vegetarian, animals are everything to her, and here I was about to kill “Freddy”. What she did was to name the thing I was about to kill. She had never met the mouse, but she just knew that she wanted me to stop. So she made several pictures about Freddy, but most importantly, she named him. I was no longer going to get rid of a pest, I was about to kill ‘Freddy’.…

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Rabbi Menachem Frohman, one of the founders of the settler movement in Israel, a leading religious Zionist and Chief Rabbi of the settlement of Tekoa, has come to believe that Barack Obama is the only hope for Middle East peace. Here are his startling statements in video and in the form of an open letter to the Senator. Nothing is as it seems on the frontlines of conflict and peacemaking.

With God’s Help

To the person who, with God’s help, will be the next President of the United States of America:

Dear Senator Barack Obama,

“May the Lord bless you from Zion, and may you gaze upon the goodness of Jerusalem all the days of your life.”

This letter from an elder Jewish Rabbi who lives in close proximity to Jerusalem, addressed to the young candidate for President of the United …

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THE REFUGEES, PALESTINIANS AND ISRAEL

by mgopin on September 17, 2008 · 2 comments

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Ehud Olmert is beginning to outline his final vision of peace between Israel and Palestine, and it is revealing.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday that the price of an agreement with the Palestinians would “move us very close” to an exchange of equal amounts of territory, and that this must be stated “honestly and courageously.” The alternative to an agreement is a bi-national state, an idea, he said that “ever-growing segments of the international community are adopting.”

Speaking at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Olmert said the agreement now being formulated would give the Palestinians 100 percent of the West Bank, or territory of a similar area. “I’ll still be here,” he told committee members who said they wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to wish him good-bye, in light of the Kadima primary Wednesday, which is expected to result in his resignation.

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