A Final Project for the YaLa Peace Institute: “What is your vision of the MENA region in the year 2025 (if peace were to be established today) building on what you have learned from the YaLa Peace Institute?”
by Haviv Baubot (France)
It is really difficult to imagine, because there are a lot of conflicts in the world – mainly in the Middle East. A lot of leaders and intellectuals aren’t finding solutions for the moment, and everything seems to be getting worse.
But I will try to imagine peace in 2025, and the ways to reach this peace.
Help the populations and politicians find solutions.
Sometimes solutions aren’t possible because a lot of it depends on the suffering of the populations living in the conflict areas. Because of what they have lived through, they sometimes refuse the political solutions that are proposed because they want reparations. Some extremists even want to get revenge, or worse. This means that possible solutions depend on the backgrounds how to prepare them.
The Humanitarian help and human rights.
The humanitarian help might be a small detail, but it helps to change the minds of people – especially when it comes from the side that is supposed to be the “enemy”!
One of my friends visited the village of Susya in Palestine. Susya is a village that Israel wanted erase because the homes were constructed illegally, according to Israel. My friend, who is a religious Jew, observed that he could wear his kippa and make friends, and he was surprised by this because, due to Israel’s decision to destroy the village, Susya’s residents could have hated the Jews. However, an Israeli NGO called “Rabbis for Human Rights” criticized the decision of Israel and defended the village, and this act caused the Palestinian population of Susya to change their minds and reevaluate their misconceptions, because they met Israelis and Jews who want peace and who helped them to continue living on their land. Therefore, when humanitarian help comes from the side with which we are supposed to be in conflict, it can change things! “Humanitarian help” can also be defined as help in terms of food, medical supplies, or anything else that helps people to survive. When the human rights of a population are violated, this population can suffer a lot.
Education and discovery of the “other.”
Education is very important for populations that have lived through massacres and genocides. Education can happen during and directly following conflicts, it can influence the future generations. Therefore, we have to teach how to approach and communicate with the other side, and how to forgive them. In Rwanda, there is a lot of work towards education to help the Hutus and the Tutsis to coexist following the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. We can see this process in a video that was made by YaLa young leaders, featuring Sarah (an Israeli) and Hamze (a Palestinian). This education should teach people to forgive, but not to forget what happened. If we refuse to forget what happened, and we remember the trauma that conflict causes, it will be less likely to happen again. For the populations living under persecution today, fearing an “enemy”, we can make the children of both sides meet, or we can teach them that it is very important to speak to the other side and get to know them. Education about the tolerance of every human being and the importance of life will lead to the protection and preservation of peace in the long term!!! We can also arrange intercultural meetings that would be open for everyone. Contact between the two sides is very important in order to discover the “other side” and learn about coexistence. We should also have the courage to speak out against injustices we have witnessed and/or committed. In some cases, people will have to live with the people who committed injustices against them. Sometimes for the sake of peace, we cannot bring perfect justice for what happened – we must compromise.
The political decisions and the solutions.
Once the populations are prepared for the peace, it cans help the leaders to take serious decisions and to meet together.
Negotiations are very important. The negotiators should prepare everything very far in advance – before the day of negotiations. This is because they need to already have in mind what they are willing to give up, what they want to gain, and what they will keep in the end. There are two parties negotiating, but it is also important that there is a third party who will decide the rules and the next meeting. This is because there is a risk if one party has the ability to decide everything, and might do so to its advantage. Also, the negotiators must not enter into confrontation directly, but must remain respectful and cordial with the other. We must also respect the dignity of the other (see what Donna Hicks says).
The analysis and the political decisions
When we try to resolve a conflict, we should study its history, understand the situation and know what all the parties concerned are thinking in this conflict. With this in mind, we have to think and find solutions. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we wonder what is the best solution – if it is a two-state solution for two people, or if it is a one-state solution recognizing both people as equal citizens. Countries can also work together to find solutions for terrorism in the Middle East, in order to help the region become calmer.
How will peace be achieved in 2025?
If we succeed in everything I have described above, perhaps we can reach peace in 2025 – but what kind of peace will it be?
2025 is perhaps much too soon, so people will not yet coexist completely, but there will be an absence of violence. Violence is the only thing during wars that cause death, injuries and trauma, so if we want a country to be happier, the violence needs to stop. Violence is often carried out by armies, terrorist groups, nationalist groups, etc. If politicians, NGOs, and other humanitarian associations find solutions to stop them, the violence will stop and there will be no more victims of violence. The absence of violence will open the door to dialogue and collaboration between the conflicting countries/parties.
Peace will allow for economic collaboration between the countries. Countries can also integrate economic agreements into the negotiations.
A good economy can help keep the peace. Let’s take Europe for example:
During the 20th century, the continent was devastated by two world wars.
The leaders decided after these wars that it was important to maintain peace. Therefore, they made agreements like the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951. They continued in this way by creating the European Union with the Schengen Agreement, one unique device (the Euro), among other measures. All of these things contributed to preserving peace in Europe. Every country can make economic agreements that will benefit all populations involved.
The absence of violence and economic collaboration between the countries will contribute to making the populations more comfortable.
So what is the next step? The next step is coexistence. After a war, both sides have built up hatred against those that they considered an enemy during the war, because they remember how they suffered during the war.
Therefore, as I said in Part One, things can be done to avoid this hatred, like humanitarian help, intercultural meetings, etc. Then, people will eventually befriend one another, love one another, etc. Complete coexistence may not come by 2025 because it is very soon, but if peace stays, coexistence will come years after.
If we follow all these steps, perhaps peace will come in 2025.
In the first part, I talked about measures we can take to end wars.
In the second part, I outlined my three points that define peace.
To view more final projects, click here.
To apply to YaLa Academy’s next program click here.
To learn more about the YaLa Peace Institute in Honor of Nelson Mandela, click here.