For a little while now (at least a couple of years) I have maintained that the conflict will in effect, resolve itself, eventually.
Until recently, Gazans and West Bank Palestinians have heard one voice. A voice that told them in categorical terms that their life would be better under autonomous rule by Hamas or the PLO. Palestinians believed them. It created fanatics, fascists and suicide bombers. But people can only be told a lie so long as there is no evidence to the contrary.
If someone tells you that the world is flat you know he is lying because you have information that shows him to be lying. Information is king. Therefore, I have contended that my generation (Generation Y) is the information generation. My generation does not accept lies or legends at face value. We know there is a way to learn on our own to unmask lies passed off as facts or legends passed off as history. We are the Wikipedia generation. We know that the information is available and we are willing to find it ourselves.
So long as information can be controlled, the public will kneel to authority, corrupt or otherwise. But once information is freely available to the masses, the lies unravel, the legends are exposed and truth can prevail. Authority that told those lies and legends is discarded and the people want truth, a voice and democracy. I have been saying that my generation of Palestinians and Muslims in general who have access to information will undoubtedly prefer to join the West in its freedoms, capitalism and democracy.
When the choices are death or unilateral agreement with authority, the choice is easy. When the choice is money, entertainment, enlightenment or unilateral agreement with authority, the choice is even easier. With the wave of unbridled information entering the oppressed masses in Arab countries, fundamental fanaticism will be replaced with a thirst for information and the allure of modern civilization. A lifestyle of books and e-books, Facebook and Twitter, Playstation and XBOX, e-commerce and ebay sure as heck beats a Third World existence. This is why my generation will resolve the conflict. Conflict serves no one but the elite and corrupt leaders. It will mean out with oppressive rulers and in with freedom.
The beginnings of this movement has already been formed in Gaza. A few weeks ago the Guardian reported on a “Manifesto” written by disgruntled Palestinians. They don’t want Hamas, they don’t want Fatah, they don’t want Israel, they want freedom.
What happened in Tunisia and what is happening right now in Egypt is more of the same. The people will not be controlled by corrupt Heads of State who demand allegiance for no reason other than “I said so”. The people want their freedom. They want what we have in the West. And they will get it. (See: President Reagan’s Message for the Protesters in Egypt)
A little bit of patience and gentle prodding from the West will help the next generation of Arabs achieve their emancipation. I maintain that 9/11 was a final salvo. The fundamentalist establishment tried one last time to supress the free flow of information by trying to destroy it. They failed and freedom is around the corner.
Just ask the protestors in Tunisia and Egypt.
I do admit that the protests are not without flaws. It is entirely possible that the new leaders will be equally despotic as their predecessors. We can only hope that will not be the case. But even if it is, it won’t last long. Change is coming. The cat is out of the bag and freedom is like a drug that is addictive and readily available. The public won’t be satisfied until they can drink the elixir of freedom. And they will.
This phenomena has also affected the orthodox Jewish community. The more information that becomes available, the more the religious leaders are concerned about losing their authority. This is silly. The authority of rabbis was never binding except in a rabbinic court or perhaps via an uncontested responsa. It is a folly of this generation’s leadership (or its handlers) that asserted this unilateral power. It never existed and yes, with information this imagined power will disappear. This is why the Internet is so feared by these rabbis. That is why the Internet is banned in charedi circles. It is because of the information and free flow of ideas that the Internet provides which in turn minimizes their invented power. Orthodox Judaism does not depend on charismatic or authoritarian rabbis, it depends of individual commitment to Jewish law and theology. Information is a boon to that kind of religious practice. If we are confident in orthodox Judaism as a viable way of life, information must be a friend, not a foe. I know that I am confident, I can’t say the same for those who cower in fear from information.
The future is now, or coming soon enough. The Internet is giving people a thirst for freedom and independence. Totalitarianism cannot win against the almost infinite amount of information that is easily accessible from a device smaller than George Costanza’s wallet.
Say hello to the future.